Anonymous targets UK government websites

Hacktivist group Anonymous claimed responsibility for denial of service attacks on UK government websites this weekend, in protest of the planned extradition of alleged British hackers to the US.

The group said that it had launched DoS attacks on the websites of Number 10 Downing Street, the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice. 

The Daily Telegraph reported that the Home Office site was offline for at least an hour. A Home Office spokesperson told Information Age that it was the subject of an "online protest" and that access to its site was "intermittent" as a result.

Anonymous-affiliated Twitter accounts suggested the denial of service attacks were a protest against the forthcoming extradition of Gary MacKinnon, who stands accused of hacking into the Pentagon’s IT systems, and Richard O’Dwyer, who allegedly operated an illegal download link directory site, to the US.

"If an offence happened in the UK, so should the trial," said one.

The news raises questions about why the websites in question were susceptible to denial of service attacks. According to security company Symantec, Anonymous members have been using slowloris, a denial of service that attacks the application functionality of a website, sending ‘get’ requests for data very slowly and intermittently.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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