Anonymous Plots Next GCHQ Attack

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Hacktivist group Anonymous has said it will follow up its recent anti-extradition attacks by targeting GCHQ this weekend

Hacktivist group Anonymous has announced it will continue its attacks on UK government websites this Saturday, this time targeting the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

An Anonymous member made the announcement on Tuesday night on the @Anon_Central Twitter feed. The planned attack follows a string of denial-of-service actions against British government sites that began two weekends ago and continued over this past weekend.

‘Operation Trial At Home’

The actions are part of Operation Trial At Home, a protest against the UK’s extradition treaties with the United States.

More specifically, the protest supports three Britons facing extradition to the US: Gary McKinnon, who faces hacking charges; retired businessman Christopher Tappin, accused of arms dealing; and student Richard O’Dwyer, who faces trial for copyright infringement.

“#Anonymous #OpTrialAtHome Plan #DDoS on GCHQ on Saturday 21st April at 8pm BST & 3pm EDT,” Anonymous said in a flyer posted on Twitter. “@AnonAteam is asking all Anons to fire lazers at http://ghcq.gov.uk.”

Over the weekend Anonymous successfully interrupted access to Homeoffice.gov.uk and the website of Home Secretary Theresa May, while an attack on MI6’s website appeared to be only partly successful.

Anonymous hackers attempted to carry out a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on GCHQ over the weekend but this did not appear to have suceeded. GCHQ said it had fended off an attack but declined to specify what method it had used to do so.

Home Office taken down

DDoS attacks, which overwhelm servers by directing a large volume of traffic at them, can be defeated by techniques such as distributing the load across many servers.

The Home Office said its website has continued to be vulnerable to DDoS hacks, in spite of advance warnings, because the attackers are continually varying their methods.

“DDoS attacks are a difficult problem to tackle. The threat environment is changing constantly, with hacktivists using different tools and techniques to frustrate existing defences,” the Home Office stated.

Anonymous has promised to continue its anti-extradition hacks. “Expect a DDoS every Saturday on the UK government sites,” the group said in a Twitter message earlier this month.

On Monday, Anonymous also claimed responsibility for outages to the websites of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Department of Justice (DOJ). A Brazilian hacker using the handle Havittaja said he had orchestrated these attacks “for the lulz” (laughs).

Havittaja also called via Twitter for freedom for “all arrested Anons worldwide”.

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