Sunday, June 12, 2011

Digital Revenge: Hactivist Group 'Anonymous' Attacks Website of Spain's Police to Retaliate for Leaders' Arrests

Following the arrests in Spain on Friday of three alleged leaders of the 'Anonymous' network, a digital revenge attack has been conducted against various Spanish government websites.

The hacker group had previously announced it would respond with 'a denial of service' (DoS) attack  on the website of the Spanish National Police, and it apparently followed through with the threat last night. The web site has since been restored, but the attack adversely affected the functioning of for several hours, leaving it completely inoperative at times.

Shortly before midnight, the waiting time to access the website was significantly longer than usual, and at times it was impossible to access, especially between the hours of 3:00 and 6:00am. Attacks also appear to have been directed against the websites of Spain's unemployment and jobs offices, INEM and Servicio Público de Empleo, which are still inoperative as of this writing. (Spain currently has an unemployment rate of 20%.)

On Friday the National Police, who call Anonymous a 'hacktivist organization,' published a press release on its website reporting the arrest of three individuals in Barcelona, ​​Valencia and Almeria whom it described as  "leaders in charge of making decisions and directing attacks."

News of the arrests spread quickly through social networks. In particular, many individuals used Twitter to promote the attack under the hashtag #oPPolicia. The same day as the arrests, the activist movement issued the following warning to the Spanish government:

"Thousands of people around the world have joined Anonymous; arresting three of them will not hurt us, but will add more people to our ranks. You provided the fuel, now you should wait for the fire."

Another message specifically called on supporters of the movement to launch denial of service attacks against the website of the National Police at a specific time. Also on Friday, the following video message "from Anonymous to the world's leaders" was uploaded to YouTube. (Although the video is in Spanish, English subtitles can be accessed by clicking on CC.) 


Cross posted on Newsvine and News and Views.

No comments: