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'Expect more online attacks' Anonymous hackers say
6 years ago


'Expect more online attacks' Anonymous hackers say

Screen grab of the Home Office website
The Home Office website was apparently targeted in protest at email surveillance plans
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The hacking group Anonymous says it will launch online attacks every weekend in the wake of allegations 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 website became inaccessible around 21:00 BST on Saturday, and was patchy from 05:00 on Sunday.


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


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.


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


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


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


Extradition controversy

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."


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.


After the website was disrupted on Saturday evening a Home Office spokesman said: "We are aware of some reports that the Home Office website may be the subject of an online protest.


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This post was modified from its original form on 08 Apr, 6:15
6 years ago

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


'Monitoring situation'

"We have put all potential measures in place and will be monitoring the situation very closely."


"If a successful denial of service attempt does occur tonight, we will liaise with the technical team and update as necessary," he added.


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.


Anonymous at work


Leo Kelion

BBC technology reporter


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 indentified 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.


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