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 287.

    Good. I'm glad that some people do risk their freedom to support our civil liberties. Too many people complain and moan in this country with out taking any action. Lobbying governments through diplomatic means doesn't really work that well. Direct action is always needed. Just look back at America with Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. This is no different, just the 21 century version of protests

  • rate this

    Comment number 286.

    279. GeoSquared

    3 Ah, the supply and demand theory. Be realistic: Money makes parties - not public demand. This puts poor voters at disadvantage


    OK I will accept that point and it doesn't help when the natural party of the poor has abandoned it's founding principles and become another Tory party.

    However there still is choice - people can vote Lib Dem or Green instead can't they?

  • rate this

    Comment number 285.

    The answer is probably no chance so we can expect our information to be hacked...
    By hackers, preumably!
    Now, if the government had the legislation in place to track them down justice could be done. But the Anonymous campaign stands against that, self-interst one might conclude. And if the crime were against the FBI & Co., extradition would loom. Enjoy, as they say.

  • rate this

    Comment number 284.

    Absolute bull this was done by our very own government as a faulse flag to allow them to for fill there own agenda of Internet sensor ship and so they can target anyone who steps out of line,,,,,
    C'mon people wake up!!!!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 283.


    There is an ANON email currently working its way around the net.

    It says could everybody please turn up at the houses of parliament on nov 5th, they want a peaceful protest and to ask for the countrys debt to be wiped out and the government to be removed from power.

    You are aware that britain is bankrupt arent you

    We WILL go the same way as greece

    See you on the 5th of nov

  • rate this

    Comment number 282.

    Sorry guys, it was me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 281.

    Boilerbill Why did you give this guy a negative? He's absolutely right - especially with regard to the DWP! You'd think it was their money that they are depriving a 75 year old pensioner of.

  • rate this

    Comment number 280.

    If the government can't repel these hackers what chance does it have to protect all the personal information it intends to gather about us all?
    The answer is probably no chance so we can expect our information to be hacked,misused etc with resultant chaos.the data protection and privacy legislation will be rendered redundant and we will have no redress against the government or the hacker criminal

  • rate this

    Comment number 279.

    259. Some Lingering Fog

    I would like to argue on your answers but the space I'm given isn't nearly enough. In short:
    1 Parliamentism negates the term democracy - rule of the people as it set an elite in charge
    2 I'm worried about this too
    3 Ah, the supply and demand theory. Be realistic: Money makes parties - not public demand. This puts poor voters at disadvantage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 278.

    There are hundreds on here complaining on and on about the problems.

    Does anyone actually want to be constructive and offer any ideas for solutions?

  • rate this

    Comment number 277.

    In an ideal society there would be other ways and attacking public property would be a shame but lacking these,hacktivism and peacefull protest is not only justifiable, but a DUTY of responsible citizens.

    >Frankly I'd sooner have this sort of protest that turn, say, London into a Syria, which is what would happen if the gov got a stranglehold acting in its own interests only

  • rate this

    Comment number 276.

    So they have overloaded governmnet websites so that people can't access them. That isn't hacking. It's denial of access (to information). They aren't altering anything or stealing information. The closest similarity I can think of happens every day when people try to phone up the DWP. Being on hold for 1 hr puts you off making a claim - that's denial of access (to benefits)!

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    @Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

    I voted to change the system but alas it was defeated because most did not turn out to vote. I believe people have been feeling disenfranchised for years, evidenced by the diminishing numbers who vote. The mother of parliaments and the home of democracy-what a JOKE.

  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    JAN ANN.

    We are now seeing the start of camps being introduced into britain at some point.

    The government are writing up proposals that will enable them to kick out unemployed under 25s from their council properties.

    Shared council housing after that and then what ?

    So where will they go.

    People will look back on 2012 and see that this was the year the endgame was put into play.

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    Our rights are being slowly and carefully eroded, and these people are willing to take a peaceful stand.

    If as it seems Anonymous are actually responsible and providing a peaceful voice for those concerned about the oppressive potential of our current politics, then they are well within their rights, for now.


  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    False flag operations are covert operations designed to deceive in such a way that the operations appear as though they are being carried out by other entities!

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.

    I'm suggesting that voting is only a part of democracy. The democratic dialogue is another. If the later is ailing then people will seek alternative ways to affect politics.

    In an ideal society there would be other ways and attacking public property would be a shame but lacking these, hacktivism and peacefull protest is not only justifiable, but a DUTY of responsible citizens.

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.

    Good that Anon is getting involved. For those that complain, you do realise protests are supposed to be inconvenient right? They're not supposed to be about sitting in a hall with a few signs, because then nobody gets the message and you haven't helped stop the thing you were trying to prevent. They're supposed to be annoying. Kudos to Anon for proper protesting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    261. Ryun ONeil
    "It's just a pain, and really frustrating."

    Nono, that's just "inconvenient" - "frustrating" is being hauled up in front of the beak to explain why you are flying to a country where brown people live, or being violated by cavity search because you typed "jihad" in an email 8 years ago.

    Don't laugh - it's already happening to some people - you're next.

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    Ive come to the conclusion most people dont give a fig if they live in a democracy or if their monitored so long as they get what they want and it doesnt bother their conscious.As long as the blinkers stay on you wont see the nasty reality that is your life. This website stuff its kids stuff wait till the grown ups come out to play.


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