The British Ministry of Justice has confirmed that it's investigating issues with its website that are reportedly part of an attack by the "Anonymous" group of hackers in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is under governmental protection in the Ecuadorian London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden over alleged sexual misconduct.
The website of the British Department of Work and Pensions is believed to be similarly affected.
Anonymous has issued a statement indicating that it has launched a number of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against the government of the United Kingdom. And, while the Ministry of Justice has acknowledged some level of disruption, it claims that the only issues thus far have been intermittent service interruptions. Other reports suggest that the attacks have been more successful than the British government has admitted.
“The attacks against the UK government highlight how ideologically motivated DDoS attacks are an ever increasing issue," said Arbor Networks’ solutions architect, Darren Anstee, in a prepared statement. “There is no-doubting that the global recognition of the reality of cyber threats and the need for effective cyber security solutions is rising, with governments discussing different legislative and regulatory proposals; however, despite the potential legal implications faced by today’s hackers, they do not seem to be deterred ... Organisations should minimise their threat surface as much as possible using their network infrastructure to control the traffic reaching their service infrastructure, and they should ensure that they have well documented, and tested, incident handling processes. And, ideally they should deploy DDoS protection solutions and services which are capable of protecting them from both volumetric and stealthy application layer attacks."
Assange was granted political asylum by Ecuador last week, but the British government has declined approval for his departure to Ecuador, saying that he must instead go to Sweden to answer his arrest warrant. But, Assange believes that the decision is part of a conspiracy to force his extradition to the United States where he would likely be formally accused of revealing a lengthy series of state secrets; a charge that has been denied by the U.S. government.
PUBLISHED AUG. 21, 2012