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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Anonymous Hit UK Watchdog

Hacker group known worldwide as Anonymous has succeeded in bringing down website of the Information Commissioner’s Office with a suspected DDoS attack. Indeed, the official resource of the privacy watchdog was down for at least a day after a group identifying with Anonymous dealt its blow.

Hacktivists targeted the outfit because they believed it had little independence and had failed to protect the public’s privacy from cyber attack or data protection breaches several times already. In addition, the hackers also claimed that the legislation protecting privacy was inadequate, and called the measures “disproportionate”, talking about political protests. They also pointed at a systematic bias in the way the media reports public interest stories, presenting it as a consequence of its inability to provide sufficient weight to some stories.

Hackers claim that there’s no commitment by all British regulators to protect the citizens from information protection breaches. For instance, the outfit described the Leveson inquiry as a “farce”. These sentiments were also expressed in an interview at TechWeek Europe, where an individual claiming to be a member of the Anonymous said that ICO wasn’t ready and had no motivation to make sure they were protected.

The recent attack was responded with mixed feelings by the security industry. Most of the industry observers refused to comment the situation. Nevertheless, some security expert said that hackers may appear far cleverer than presidents, governments and companies. Indeed, it doesn’t really matter how much security is in place, if the hacker group wants to take someone down, it will.

The anonymous security professionals admitted that they may even agree with this attack, because it has a point about privacy. In response, the Information Commissioner’s Office itself refused to go beyond a generic statement, confirming only that access to its official website has been disrupted over the recent days. Meanwhile, they believed this happened because of a distributed denial of service attack. Although the site itself hasn’t been damaged, Internet users still have been unable to access a public facing site containing no sensitive data.

ICO announced that it regrets this disruption to the service, but pleased to know that their website finally went back online.

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