SOCA and Avaaz websites under attack

Two high-profile websites have been subjected to online attacks in the last 24 hours.

The UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) took its website online at 22:30 last night after come under a DoS attack. "The reason we take [the website] down is to prevent and limit any impact on the clients hosted by our service provider," the spokesperson said, adding that the website would go back up "as soon as possible".

They said that SOCA's public facing website is not connected to operational material, and contains only publicly available information. "DDoS attacks are a temporary inconvenience to website visitors, but do not pose a security risk."

Meanwhile, online campaign website Avaaz is also under attack, according to a statement on its website. The nature of the attack is not clear.

"An expert is telling us that an attack this large is likely coming from a government or large corporation, with massive, simultaneous and sophisticated assaults from across the world to take down our site," the organisation said in a statement. "The attack has been going on for 36 hours straight, threatening our ability to keep campaigning."

Avaaz, which supports and organises online petition campaigns with recent topics including abortion laws in Arizona, and bee-killing pesticides, is using the occassion to raise funds. It is encouraging visitors to donate to "an Avaaz defence fund to take our security to the next level, and show our attackers that whatever they throw at us only makes us stronger".

Commenting on the SOCA attack, Trend Micro's EMEA research director Rik Ferguson questioned whether investing in DoS defence systems would be worth the money.

"[SOCA's] website being unavailable for a period of time has no impact on their ability to do business and very little impact on the public at large," Ferguson said. "Is it worth the expense of large-scale DDoS mitigation technologies? Probably not. Does it harm the SOCA brand to be seen to do nothing or very little to stop these attacks from happening? Again, probably not."

More information on hacking and cybersecurity

  1. Enterprise Security 2012 – Hacking and cybersecurity discussion

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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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