According to numerous tweets and a report by the BBC, the hacking group that refers to itself as “Anonymous” has targeted the Home Office website in the UK for takedown in response to government plans for extradition of Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon and TVShack’s Richard O’Dwyer back to to the United States. The BBC is reporting that proposed email surveillance is a part of the purpose for attack as well.
A warning of the attack was made public this week, and it appears that Anonymous has followed through.
In addition to McKinnion and O’Dwyer, Wikileak’s editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, is fighting extradition from the UK to Sweden. In regards to surveillance, the UK government had been discussing the approval of laws that would allow for more social network and email surveillance to combat terrorism. The new laws are set to be discussed during the Queen’s speech on May 9th.
— Anonymous UK (@AnonUK) April 7, 2012
Attacks on the Home Office website appeared to have started about an hour ago, and as of the time of publishing this article, the site is still unavailable:
According to the error that is being displayed on the site, it appears that Anonymous has put together a massive DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, which is flooding the site’s servers with fake traffic.
A Home Office spokesperson told the BBC that is it closely monitoring the situation:
We are aware of some reports that the Home Office website may be the subject of an online protest. 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.
As we learned during the SOPA debate, Anonymous measures out its target carefully and acts fast. In January, a well-orchestrated attack was set off against the US Department of Justice sites in reaction to the Megaupload shutdown and seizure.