Last weekend there were some suspiciously timed Distributed Denial of Service attack against the Home Office website (offline for about 12 hours until Sunday morning) and to a lesser extent the Ministry of Justice and the Prime Minister's Number 10 Downing Street (about an hour's disruption each, on and off) .
None of these websites are vital to the running of the country, especially not on a Saturday evening on a Bank Holiday weekend, when nobody is visiting them, but they are symbolic targets.
The organisers of this supposed "hactivism" were some self appointed faction under the hydra headed #Anonymous twitter hive mind.
See the Twitter hashtag #OpTrialAtHome
The "justification" they claimed was to somehow "support" the controversial Extradition cases of Gary McKinnon, Richard O'Dwyer and Chris Tappin, something which they have not achieved..
Nevertheless these people declared the event a success and then, on the Sunday, they threatened to do the same to the GCHQ website , starting at 8pm GMT on Saturday 14th April 2012.
This "news" has been reported by IT trade publications and picke dup by the national newspapers and broadcast media, especially following the arrests of a couple of teenagers in the West midlands, who may be the vaguely associated with the #teampoison attacks on the Metropolitan Police Anti-terrorism hotline.
(misreported by the "hackers" and far too many other online "news" sources as somehow being MI6 the Secret intelligence Service, who have nothing to do with any public hotlines whatsoever)
As with MI5 and the MI6/SIS websites, only http://www.gchq.gov.uk is valid, not http://gchq.gov.uk on its own
A few hours before the announced attack time, the default GCHQ web page started to be re-directed down a level to:
instead of the previous IP address of http://188.8.131.52 which was advertised ahead of time on a Twitter Twitpic graphic:
Note the ambiguous slogan: "Fight Online Privacy" - are the anonymous organisers / manipulators behind this DDoS attack actually on the same side as GCHQ - both of them appear to be fighting against your right to online privacy.
Note also the inevitable confusion - many of the "script kiddies" and gullible journalists will not have read the announcement properly and will assume that 8 PM British Summer Time is somehow the same as 8pm Greenwich Mean Time. (9pm BST)
Much more seriously, the published comment on this web page is actively encouraging the "hactivists" to download a scritpt kiddy "point and click" Denial of Service attack tool called "High Orbit Ion Cannon" - hence the "pew pew pew - fire your Laz0rs" instructions to the exploited cult followers.
There are no warnings whatsover about the fact that participating in this DDoS attack or even just downloading the HOIC tool is a criminal offence in the UK, with up to ten years and two year in prison respectively.
See the control freak Labour government's amendments to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 which came into force in October 2008 and which claims worldwide legal jurisdiction:
- 3.Unauthorised acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing, operation of computer, etc. - up to 10 years in prison for paricipating in the DDoS attack
- 3A.Making, supplying or obtaining articles for use in offence under section 1 or 3- up to 2 years in prison for downloading the HOIC tool
The timing of these DDoS attacks appears to have been deliberately (or utterly incompetently) chosen to minimise any political impact on the Government or civil servants i.e. on a Saturday evening when nobody in the Government department concerned is likely to have anyone ringing up to complain that their website is unavailable, and well past the print run deadlines for the Sunday newspapers.
If people want to protest by accessing a Government website, then they should be able to, but they must also be made aware of the risks of legal prosecution and potential punishments.
The fact that the organisers of these attacks have not done so, smells of Entrapment by Agents Provocateurs, perhaps like the notorious #Sabu, who are under the control of an intelligence or law enforcement agency and who are actually helping to jusify the repressive Communications Capabalities Development Programme being promoted by the securocrats in Whitehall to the bumbling Coalition politicians.
20:05 BST - the GCHQ website seems to be running smoothly