UK government sites warned to brace against attack

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jan 28, 2011

GovCertUK issues warning in aftermath of arrests of Anonymous gang members.

UK government websites have been warned that they may find themselves subject to attack following the arrest of five Britons as part of an investigation into the Anonymous hacking group earlier this week.

The hacking group that calls itself 'Anonymous' has been under investigation following DDoS attacks against the websites of a number of organisations and governments that had in some way withdrawn support for WikiLeaks, the non-profit organization that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources and news leaks, and its founder Julian Assange. The sites attacked included PayPal, Mastercard and Visa, all of which stopped processing WikiLeaks transactions and donations towards the end of last year.

Angered at the arrests, members of the Anonymous group released a statement arguing that denial of service attacks are a legitimate form of peaceful protest and that the police investigation was disproportionate, concluding "...our advice to .. the UK government, is to take this statement as a serious warning from the citizens of the world. We will not rest until our fellow anon protesters have been released."

In reaction to the statement, GovCertUK has issued an advisory urging government websites to be on guard and vigilant against any signs of DDoS activity.

Five young men - aged 15, 16, 19, 20 and 26 - were arrested in the UK earlier this week on suspicion of being involved in the Anonymous DDoS attacks. Two individuals have also been arrested in The Netherlands in connection with the attacks.

Participation in DDoS attacks is illegal in many countries, including the UK. Police have warned that anyone tempted to download attack software in order to participate in further DDoS attacks also risks arrest.

The Anonymous statement reacting to the arrests can be read here (PDF).

The GovCertUK advisory can be read here (PDF).

Posted on 28 January 2011 by Virus Bulletin

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