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 327.

    319. Citasitis
    "And to complete the set - name calling."

    And to truly complete it - hypocrisy, since you dismissed legitimate criticism of the state as 'bilge water' and its critics as 'diddums'. Dear, oh dear.

    "So let me get this right"

    Please do, because at the moment you come across as totally oblivious, bigoted and puerile. Please, please try reading something other than The Sun.

  • rate this

    Comment number 326.

    @283 bobloblaw14

    That's the kind of positive action that starts things going, all we need now is a viable and functioning alternative to the current govt system and we're on our way.
    Thank you for bringing that to my attention.

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.

    "322.Mr W
    I would like to see anonymous and hackers attacking better targets , china the home of internet espionage , russia and putins autocratic rule , countries with govnt censorship ."

    If you read the bullet box to the right of the article, titled "Anonymous at work", you'll see that's just the sport of thing they do do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 324.

    This government doesn't listen to our concerns, therefore it is necessary to make them listen. If it means taking down their websites until they do then so be it. It is sad that it has come to this...

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    317. AndyEsbjerg
    I am sorry Andy but your posting is clueless. This is about control. It is about a government that believes that citizens of the UK have their place and should stay there and not moan about their situation in life. This over the top monitoring is to prevent future protest & dissent. Do you think they will actually use warrants to look individual content? I think not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 322.

    I dont mind this as a legitimate protest , the extradition procedures between US and UK set up after 9/11 were directed at extremists however how it now works in practice isnt as intended . I would like to see anonymous and hackers attacking better targets , china the home of internet espionage , russia and putins autocratic rule , countries with govnt censorship .

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    Is it fair to give to those who have plenty, whilst taking from those who have not? Mr Osborne has just done so
    Is it fair for those in power to unlawfully claim expenses (F Maude for one), then be allowed to give the money back; whilst those who steal clothing or food are imprisoned?
    Anyone who can peacefully change this political governing system and create a fairer one has my support

  • rate this

    Comment number 320.

    The New World Order conspiracy comments are probably rubbish, but a lot of the claims made by the theorists are practically irrefutable regardless of what the end goal is.

    - People being made to fear the world around them and thus demanding further 'protection' from the state.
    - Mass entertainment and poor education keeping the people pacified and apathetic.
    - Endless war for profit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.

    310.Perpetual Sigh
    Ow, the stupid!
    And to complete the set - name calling.

    So let me get this right: to protect my interests Anonymous will threaten, intimidate, cajole, bully, insult, and use violence. No wonder they have never polled a vote or had the courage to present yourselves publicly. I'll do nicely without those nice Anonymous people, thank you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 318.

    This is a legit, DDoS attack on the UK Government, because of recent UK Laws regading Internet Freedom & Privacy and Extradition Laws.

    We fight for the good of all people, to protect country's from corrupted governments.

    We are Anonymous.
    We are Legion.
    We do not Forgive.
    We do not Forget.

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.

    Good to see I made the lowest rating! I'd rather my mails and web visits were monitored than be blown up or shot by some raging extremist lunatic!
    I'd like to know what all these people that disagree with the monitoring are doing that they are so frightened of? I don't do anything illegal, so I have nothing to concern myself about.
    Remember, there is no such thing as freedom! It's a balance!

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    Darryl, since when has standing up for basic human rights like privacy and freedom of expression been a waste of talent?
    fair play to anonymous for making their voice heard.
    do YOU really WANT the government knowing all your contacts and every website you visit???

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

    Attacks will only happen on a Saturday, cos they have school during the week.

  • rate this

    Comment number 314.

    So the govt want to know who is talking to whom, how often, which relationships are solid and which shaky, like an involuntary facebook for terrorists. Okay, but the majority of email is spam and govts seems powerless to control that, or data theft, or identity theft. How is it that so much 'cyber security' is well known not to work in the real world, yet is still expected to work in govt. world?

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.

    @305. Wonko-the-sane

    I'm afraid we can't change history. The Liberal Democrats took the decision to enter into a coalition government with the Conservatives and once they did they had to make compromises (or abandon their principles if you prefer).

    If for that reason you can never trust a Lib Dem MP ever again so be it, but what makes you think you can trust any politican?

  • rate this

    Comment number 312.

    Anonymous, non partisan and rebelling against the system. A bit Like Guido Fawkes(Paul Staines)?. Handy little demonstration of what the "terrorists" can do if the government doesn't get its monitoring powers and it avoided actually denying anyone service. gr8 how they can transmit smell of the internet like fish(see above) and

  • rate this

    Comment number 311.

    302. Semisatanic
    "The more this government ignore the people of this country the more they can expect direct action.
    No-one ever won any attention from this government with peacefull protest."

    This is exactly why this government wants to introduce internet monitoring legislation like this, to give them the upper hand in stamping out inevitable future protest against their horrible policies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 310.

    Comment number 306. Citasitis
    No-one ever won any attention from this government with peacefull protest.
    Wondeful! We've had Hitler, Thatcher, conspiracy theories, threats and now violence - and all cos diddums didn't get his/her way. Bring on the law, expose the criminals, bring them to justice & blow this bilge-water down the drain where it belongs."

    Ow, the stupid!

  • rate this

    Comment number 309.

    Poor misguided fools, wish they would grow up. It's the silent majority that are impacted by the actions of these idiots. And it's a load of rubbish that they do it because they are making some statement about something that they disagree with.

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.

    @301. Some Lingering Fog

    I'm not sure I can answer that


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