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

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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.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    It amazes me that some people still think The new world order doesnt exist.

    Go to youtube and type in gordon brown new world order.

    Then research what gordon brown did to this country for the new world order.

    There is also a very long video that people should watch called THE MONEY MASTERS.

    The more DEBT you have the more compliant you will be

    The banks are deleveraging, are you ?

    wake up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    This puerile political form of governance needs changing and power dissipated
    The PM is controlled to do the bidding of the poweful and wealthy.
    We need to directly elect all Ministers including the PM & Chancellor.
    Public funding cuts would not be necessary with fair taxation for all.
    Any form of peaceful protests to enable the chance to have a truly democratic system is to be welcomed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    The British people are sheep, take what the politicians say as indisputable fact. The entire population are being conned and manipulated in acceptance of a regime more akin to China than a western nation. The electorate do finally explode, remember Thatchers poll tax! Well done to Anonymous.

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    In short, they DDOS'd some websites using infected machines (their botnet). Yet the whole protest was about surveillence.. LOL. Hyprocrites using infected machines! Also, Anonymous is not a "them" really.. its just a bunch of splinter groups / people who have no other way to be heard because they're rubbish. So the public anonymous twitter accounts broadcast their rubbish.. as one..ANONYMOUS. fail

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    Why would anyone use the home office website anyway?

    Our government are well known for being compulsive liars. They are also known for fitting into the morality scale somewhere between paedophiles and petty criminals.

  • Comment number 182.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    This government @157 does not listern to its people, if it creates these laws it will mean that every phone call, every text and every email you send and every website you visit will be logged. This means that the government will be tracking your every move greater than that of China. I thought we lived in a free country!

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

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

    Which means it would be put in the hands of police and we all know about the police exercising its powers. The gov giving the police more powers is a euphemism for giving them the power to make up the law as they go along - the making of a police state by definition. Nasty, believe me

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    Anonymous are merely using a peaceful means of forcing the powers that be to acknowledge their dissatisfaction. The issue as outlined by many other posters below is that the government is failing to listen to the loud alarm bells ringing from the electorate.

    Traditional forms of protest have also appeared fruitless, or worse, maligned. This is another way.


  • rate this

    Comment number 178.


    Everyone needs to ask the question... is this a real event or another false flag event organised to encourage the removal of Internet freedoms?
    I was wondering the same Brian,especially as we have a seemingly teflon PR muppet running the show,who's even managed to pass a few of his 'skills' on to people like dear old Vince,Re:No action on bankers bonuses etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    These DOS attacks sometimes have a vaild point, but you will be surprised how much hacking or cracking ( criminal hacking) comes from china and is state sponsored

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    If the eurozone collapses, which i think it will, this will have a very big impact on the UK, This is why the MSM are not telling you what is going on.

    The UK imports most of its food from europe.

    What do you think will happen to britains food supply once the eurozone economy collapses.

    Once people inform themselves of what is happening in europe, that is when they will WAKE UP.

    Stay informed

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    To those who say 'use democratic means to solve the problem' -- Like what? We have a two/three-party system, all of them heavily influenced by the US and corporate interests. Online petitions do not have a history of getting results. I think that Anonymous have chosen a good way to protest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    Blocking the citizens' use of a website of its government. Hmm. Doesn't sound very democratic to me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    The fact that politicians are attacking anonymous shows how out of touch they are. A decent politician would encourage peaceful protest and understand that the people are damn angry about this.
    Those politicians voicing concern about this are nothing but tools of a totalitarian regime in the making.
    The entire political "class" should be removed ASAP and replaced with those who support democracy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    I too get fed up with groups such as Anonymous who see themselves as some kind of white knights on steeds coming to rescue us. They are full of their own self-importance using illegal means to protest. They claim to protest against such things as breach of data privacy, yet they hack into sites such a Sony and steal people's private data. They're not in it for justice but just for the gloat.

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    Heres the government crying their eyes out over a small attack on a website.

    I hate to think what they will be like when they are dealing with mass civil disorder on an unprecedented scale, because thats what they can expect if the dont dismantle this idea pronto

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    Frankly it is an issue of what one considers democracy. I do not recognise the word here at all.

    We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us

    111.Rob Young
    If you mess with making the internet less free, you'll feel the wrath of Anonymous. It's simple


    What alternative democracy do you offer? Fear?

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    A denial of service attack may or may not have used illegal means. It primarily just overloads servers with requests. Illegality would use bot nets of consumer PC's without the permission or knowledge of the owners. Usually through unknowingly downloading executable files. Some people do allow this to happen by purposely loading the software so if it is illegal, there are thousands of defendants.

  • Comment number 168.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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