Expect more online attacks, Anonymous hackers say

Screen grab of the Home Office website The Home Office website was apparently targeted in protest at government policies

Related Stories

The hacking group Anonymous says it will launch online attacks every weekend, following claims it disrupted access to the Home Office website.

Anonymous Twitter messages warned of the attack on 4 April, and said: "Expect a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) every Saturday on the UK Government sites."

The Home Office site was inaccessible for several hours on Saturday night.

Officials say no sensitive information was lost, and it is now back to normal.

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack floods a webserver with so many requests that it can no longer respond to legitimate users.

The Home Office website became inaccessible around 21:00 BST on Saturday, and was patchy from 05:00 on Sunday.

It is not clear whether the protest was against email surveillance or extradition, but it could be both.

One message on Twitter said it was a protest against "draconian surveillance proposals", but another claimed it was over extradition from the UK to the US.

One tweet claiming to be from Anonymous said: "You should not give UK citizens to foreign countries without evidence. If an offence happened in the UK, so should the trial."

There were also claims on Twitter that the 10 Downing Street website had been targeted as part of the same protest.

Anonymous at work

This is the latest in a series of attacks on official websites claimed by the hacktivists since the start of the year.

In January hackers who identified themselves under the Anonymous banner targeted the FBI and US Department of Justice following the takedown of the Megaupload file-sharing site, posting notice of the assault on Pastebin.

The action was dubbed Tango Down - a military term adopted by hackers to reference an important site successfully taken offline.

The following month the same phrase was used by the YourAnonNews twitter feed when the CIA's site went offline - although the feed later noted that just because it reported a hack did not mean it caused it.

Other attacks credited to the group include take-downs or defacements of sites belonging to the Vatican, Interpol and the Polish and Chinese governments, as well as the release of emails alleged to have been stolen from the Syrian Ministry of Presidential Affairs.

This was dismissed by a Downing Street spokesman - but access to Number 10's site was slow and intermittent for a time.

Last month the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee said major changes were needed to the UK-US extradition treaty to restore "public faith".

The MPs said they believed it was "easier to extradite a British citizen to the USA than vice versa".

Gary McKinnon, who has Asperger's syndrome, has been fighting extradition to the US for 10 years.

Mr McKinnon, of north London, is accused of hacking US military computer systems in 2002.

Chris Tappin, of Orpington, south-east London, was extradited to the US on 24 February over allegations of arms dealing.

It has been claimed he conspired to sell batteries for use in Iranian missiles.

Student Richard O'Dwyer, of Chesterfield, is also fighting extradition on copyright infringement charges on a website he ran from the UK.

Earlier in the week the Home Office said it planned to "legislate as soon as parliamentary time allows" to bring in email surveillance measures.

Ministers say change is needed to help fight crime and terrorism, but critics warn it is an attack on privacy.

'Not hacked'

A spokeswoman said: "The Home Office website was the subject of on online protest last night.

"This is a public facing website and no sensitive information is held on it.

"There is no indication that the site was hacked and other Home Office systems were not affected."

Local government minister Grant Shapps: "People rely on a site like this (the Home Office website) for information"

She said measures have been put in place to protect the website, and the Home Office will monitor the situation.

Anonymous is a loose group of "hacktivists" who came to the fore in 2010 in the wake of the emergence of Julian Assange's Wikileaks website.

Anonymous began by aiming DDoS attacks on websites, like the credit card firm Visa, who had withdrawn services from Wikileaks.

But it has gradually changed into a grouping which claims to battle government surveillance and attempts to police the internet.

Earlier this week Anonymous claimed to have defaced almost 500 websites in China.

A message put on the hacked sites said the attack was carried out to protest against the Chinese government's strict control of its citizens.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    Anonymous are heroes! They are just about the only people actually taking on the corrupt governments and their multinational PLC paymasters. It's direct action at it's finest. Good luck to them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.


    Go back and read my previous posts and there is plenty of truth there for you.

    Go to the sites i mention and you will be blown away by how much truth is available to you.

    Please dont rely on the MSM to give you the real news because they WONT.

    So much fuss about greece HAVING to pay the debt.

    Whats the point when it is COMPLETELY IMPOSSIBLE for spain to pay theirs


  • rate this

    Comment number 165.

    The problem with people who hide behind the cloak of anonymity is you have no idea who they are or what their avowed aims are. They are no doubt the same people who demand transparency in politics. Try practising what you preach once in a while. Look at some of the hurtful comments made on twitter and facebook when the authors think they are invisible

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    "Ministers say change is needed to help fight crime and terrorism, but critics warn it is an attack on privacy"

    That's a gross insult to our intelligence. Of course it's an attack on privacy. The government knows it and wants it so it can know what we're doing. Another stage in gov-controlled normality that started with political correctness. Let's just pray a new Hitler doesn't get in power

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    Aside from the fact that what is commonly called hacking is actually cracking, DDOS is not a "hack". Journalists are just as clueless as politicians.

    I totally support Anonymous doing this. What effect has "legal" protesting had over the past 2 years. None. Which is exactly why they are "legal". If the government wont listen to public outrage on this issue then bring on new forms of protest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.

    Grant Shapps of course is on the greasy pole, but there is no doubt where all of this is going. Where the political elite considers itself under threat, they start clamping down under one guise or another of national security. We have seen it all over the world and before. Frankly it is an issue of what one considers democracy. I do not recognise the word here at all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 161.

    There seems to be a lot of people in support of Anonymous. That's quite interesting.

    The problem with Anonymous is that they are anonymous. I'm not going to give my opinion on whether what they do is right or wrong, but the fact is that anyone can claim to be a member of Anonymous when they in fact aren't. It's very difficult to trust them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 160.


    You obviously know that we are being controlled.

    I urge you to read THE SLOG, read the ABOUT section first to see what hes got right, Then read the EUROBLOWN CRISIS from start to finish.

    If you follow what is happening in the economies you will be able to see how bad things are and how much worse they are going to get.

    ZERO HEDGE covers the USA.

    Read the comments and links.

  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    This is by no means a legitimate protest
    It's absolutely a legitimate protest. The government is cracking down on the liberties of the citizens of the UK, and we have not been consulted on the extreme measures. We know that traditional protest does not work. If any government wants to mess with the freedom of the internet they should expect a fight!

  • rate this

    Comment number 158.

    @148 SocialReject

    So what do you suggest?

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    So the protesters stop people using a government service - in this case a website. They are hailed for this.

    If the protesters stopped us walking into a hospital, council offices, or calling the police, would they still be hailed?

    My taxes pay for government services - including websites. Please protest in a way that doesn't affects a service I've paid for.

  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    They will bring down govt web sites as a protest, thereby showing what? That the govt needs to track down people like this online. Seems to me that anonymous is proving the govt point that the web needs to be polices from people like anonymous.

  • rate this

    Comment number 155.

    I hope the computers 'used' to perform the hack were the Apple macs compromised that we read about last week.

    HA HA

    See that BBC. . I think it's funny that Apples got infected by a virus . .

    HA HA

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    The internet is a public domain, and public protest will take place in any public realm. Be it Tahrir Square or the www

  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    Good for them - shows the rest of the apathetic sheep that we don't have to accept rotten government. More protests such as this are urgently required.

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    "...Hackers 'target Home Office site' ..."


    This seems to me to be misleading by the BBC.

    As far as I can see, in this case there was no hacking, nor nothing illegal at all involved.

    However, the BBC's heading suggests to me that criminality is involved, supporting any Government, or its friends' claim that its opponents are lawless.

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    Everyone needs to ask the question... is this a real event or another false flag event organised to encourage the removal of Internet freedoms?

    Had warning and protected by trained IT guys! Were they told to stand down and ignore the attack... like on 911... or are they simply incompetent Muppets?

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    This is wrong.
    This is not the way to influence anything. Start a legitimate campaign and use your MP's etc. ie the legitimate path first.

    Protest in the streets. Show us who you are and how many you are and if you can make sensible representations then you may convince people like me to share your views. Otherwise you come across as a group of wasters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 149.


    They want people to hack into their security systems, this way they can now start to spy on everything everybody does on the net.

    Throw in not being able to take a step without being filmed by CCTV and its pretty obvious that the world has changed.

    Go to youtube and type in "george carlins the american dream" it works EXACTLY the same way in britain.

    4 min to view the truth

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    I assert with surety that the English democratic system has suffered systemic and chronic failure. Voting achieves and will likely continue to achieve nothing. Does voting change the machinery of Whitehall? Not in any guaranteed fashion. If you became PM tomorrow, what would you do on day one? You would likely be given your busy diary and do largely what you are told to do, pre-arranged.


Page 26 of 34


More UK stories



Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.