In what may turn out to be a weekly event, the Anonymous hacktivists followed through with their promise to hack the United Kingdom's Home Office website Saturday to protest the possible extradition of three accused U.K. criminals to the U.S.
The website of the Home Office, the government department responsible for domestic security, was inaccessible for several hours on Saturday night (April 7) due to Anonymous' denial-of-service attack. Anonymous also caused a similar disruption on the website of the British prime minister and the Ministry of Justice site, the security firm Sophos reported. All three sites are running now.
The Anonymous Operations Twitter feed chronicled the attack as it happened. "#OpTrialAtHome: Tango Down: homeoffice.gov.uk | Keep Firing!!! Keep it down! Make them hear you!"
Days before the denial-of-service attacks, Anonymous warned on its AnonOpUK Twitter feed that it was planning the digital protest for April 7 and 9 p.m. GMT.
Anonymous' successful attack on the U.K. government is the first offensive in " Operation Trial at Home," the activists' stand against the European Arrest Warrant that could lead to the extradition to the U.S. of Gary McKinnon, Christopher Tappin and Richard O'Dwyer, three suspected U.K. cybercriminals.
(The extradition of O'Dwyer, the 23-year-old creator of TVShack.net who was arrested for hosting copyrighted material on his site, has been approved.)
These high-profile hacks may be a recurring event, Anonymous said. In a tweet from April 4, the group wrote, "Expect a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) every Saturday on the UK Government sites," BBC News reported.
Graham Cluley from Sophos called Anonymous' actions "an audacious move," especially considering that "other hacktivists who have launched DDoS attacks against websites belonging to British authorities have been arrested in recent history, and are currently facing trial."
Those suspected criminals include Ryan Cleary, a 19-year-old from Essex, England, who was arrested last summer in connection with carrying out attacks against the Serious Organized Crime Agency while working with the LulzSec hacking group.
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