Hacking group Anonymous has claimed responsibility for attacking the UK Home Office’s web site and has promised attacks on UK government sites “every weekend”.
The Home Office attack was a standard Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. According to reports the web site was taken down on Saturday and was slow to access when it came back online.
It is not clear whether the group were protesting about UK government plans to monitor email and Internet traffic or something else.
In the past Anonymous have launched similar attacks against agencies they consider to be challenging the freedom of the Internet. Earlier this week they hacked into Chinese web sites and posted anti-government messages. Other attacks have taken place against the media industry after legal action against The Pirate Bay, against the US Department of Justice after legal action against Megaupload, and against supports of the controversial SOPA bill.
Distributed Denial of Service Attacks are hard to defend against because web sites are bombarded with traffic from hundreds or even thousands of sources. Blocking individual machines therefore has little effect on the traffic. Criminals often use viruses or worms to create botnets of compromised computers to use in the attacks. Anonymous has previously avoided these tactics, but apparently used manipulated web and Twitter links to involve users in their anti-SOPA protests – not necessarily with the users’ knowledge.
Source: BBC News article