The U.S. government's website for providing online security guidance has fallen at the hands of the Anonymous hacking group, in the notorious hacktivists' latest campaign against the threat of Internet censorship.
The hackers took down OnGuardOnline.gov, a website managed by the Federal Trade Commission, yesterday (Jan. 23). Before the site was knocked offline, the hackers plastered a message on the home page announcing that they plan to "rage a relentless war against the corporate Internet, destroying dozens upon dozens of government and company websites," if lawmakers pass the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) or its European counterpart, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Critics of the measures say they would pave the way for widespread censorship.
"As you are reading this we are amassing our allied armies of darkness, preparing boatloads of stolen booty for our next raid," the hackers wrote in a post on Pastebin.
By infiltrating the FTC site, a partnership of 14 federal agencies, the hackers said they gained access to, and will leak, passwords, bank account credentials and online dating details stored on "hundreds of rooted servers."
The takedown of OnGuardOnline was Anonymous' latest tactical strike against organizations and governments that have publicly supported the passage of SOPA and ACTA, especially in the wake of the high-profile bust of file-sharing site Megaupload.
Last week Anonymous claimed responsibility for cyberattacks on the websites of Universal Music, the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America. Yesterday Anonymous hijacked CBS.com, the site of the French media conglomerate Vivendi, the official site of the French government, and the website of Poland's president and parliament.