Anonymous Strikes Downing Street and Ministry of Justice

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Anonymous aims its crosshairs at various Government websites, with Number 10 and the MoJ also targeted

Anonymous has taken responsibility for disrupting services on various Government websites over the Easter weekend, including the Prime Minister’s and the Ministry of Justice’s sites.

The hacktivist group has been pummeling Government sites with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, targeting the Home Office too. Anonymous has pledged to launch DDoS attacks on UK Government sites every Saturday.

“#Anonymous launched a cyberattack on http://www.number10.gov.uk, http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk & http://www.justice.gov.uk resulting in multiple TANGO DOWNS,” a Tweet from the Anonymous Operations Twitter account read on Saturday.

The MoJ told TechWeekEurope its site was down for around 3o minutes at 10.30pm on 7 April. “Access was quickly restored and the website is now operating as normal,” a spokesperson said.

Mixed motivations?

There remains confusion over Anonymous’ motives. Some reports indicated the controversial web surveillance plans were to blame. Earlier this month, the government came under heavy fire over proposals to allow GCHQ to see who citizens were interacting with over the web and what websites they were visiting.

However, other messages have pointed to the UK’s stance on extradition and claims it is too easily swayed by US opinion. “Selling your citizens to foreigner is not acceptable,” a message on the same Anonymous Twitter account read.

Last month, home secretary Theresa May approved the extradition of Richard O’Dwyer, the British student accused of copyright infringement in the US.

Gary McKinnon, who hacked into 97 military and NASA systems between 2001 and 2002, could also be extradited to the US, but his case is yet to be decided. McKinnon suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome.

Critics of the US-UK treaty have noted that between 2004 and July 2011, 123 people were extradited from the UK to the US, but only 54 have gone in the opposite direction.

Anonymous, meanwhile, has issued a clarion call to supporters asking them to not use any services run by the top one percent of earners on 1 May. The hacktivist group has been backing the Occupy movement since protests started last year.

It was busy hitting Chinese sites last week, claiming to have hacked hundreds of websites in protest at alleged government oppression.

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