Hacker group Anonymous targeted United Kingdom government websites today in a show of solidarity with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is holed up at the Ecuardorian embassy in London, hoping to flee the U.K. for fear of being extradited to Sweden and then the United States.

The hacker collective, famous for using distributed denial of service attacks to make a political point, allegedly attacked the U.K. Justice Department website, along with the British Prime Minister’s website “Number 10.” Other reports indicate the group has also attacked the Department of Work and Pensions. Anonymous used the hash tag “#OpFreeAssange,” referencing the founder of Wikileaks who is supposed to be under house arrest in the U.K. for sex-crime allegations in Sweden.

Earlier today, one Anonymous bullhorn on Twitter, @AnonIRC said, “The website of the UK Ministry of Justice is down: http://www.justice.gov.uk/  #OpFreeAssange”

Another, @YourAnonNews, tweeted, “The second victim seems to be offline –> http://www.dwp.gov.uk/  #OpFreeAssange #Anonymous. Gov. of UK Expect Us!”

After being arrested and let out on bail, Assange escaped to the Ecuadorian embassy before authorities could extradite him to Sweden. The Latin American country granted Assange political asylum last week, saying his human rights were in danger. Officials in Ecuador spoke with Sweden but were not able to get assurances that Assange would not be extradited from there to the United States, where he faces bigger charges for the leak of many U.S. diplomatic cables in 2010.

As of now, the U.K. Justice department website is still down, though Number 10 and the Department of Work and Pensions websites are up.

This morning Assange gave a speech from a balcony at the Ecuadorian embassy. He urged the U.S. to end its “witch hunt” against Wikileaks. He said that the U.S. is at a juncture: “Will it return to and reaffirm the revolutionary values it was founded on or will it lurch off the precipice, dragging us all into a dangerous and oppressive world in which journalists fall silent under the fear of prosecution and citizens must whisper in the dark?”

Source: http://venturebeat.com/2012/08/20/anonymous-julian-assange/

The cyber wars are heating up, with the popular Russian government funded RT News becoming the latest victim to fall foul of a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that knocked the site out of action for around three hours earlier today.

RT News, whose pro-Russian government stance has seen them publish a number of stories in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, first revealed that its server was experiencing technical difficulties on Facebook, shortly before tweeting that its hosting provider had confirmed that a DDoS attack was the reason for the outage.

‘Antileaks’, the group that had earlier claimed responsibility for a similar attack on WikiLeaks, later claimed responsibility for taking down RT, although as of yet there is no proof that this group is behind the attacks. What is notable is that the attack came just hours before a guilty verdict was delivered against members of the punk band Pussy Riot, who have been highly critical of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Antileaks tweeted that it was responsible for the DDoS attack just 20 minutes after RT had confirmed it, attaching a hastag in support of the Pussy Riot members. Shortly afterwards, WikiLeaks weighed into the war of words on Twitter, condemning the attack and suggesting that it was due to RT’s support of Assange rather than anything to do with the punk band. RT had previously hosted Assange’s personal chat show, in which one of his guests was none other than Ecudador’s President Rafael Correa.

RT hasn’t said anything about how they managed to overcome the attack, simply posting on Facebook that their English-language site was “back online after DDoS attack but we’re still experiencing some tech difficulties.”

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Source: http://siliconangle.com/blog/2012/08/17/rt-news-hit-by-ddos-attack-taken-offline-for-three-hours-this-morning/

 

A distributed denial-of-service attack aimed at AT&T’s DNS (Domain Name System) servers has disrupted data traffic for some of the company’s customers.

The multi-hour attack began Wednesday morning West Coast time and at the time of this writing, eight hours later, does not appear to have been mitigated.

“Due to a distributed denial of service attack attempting to flood our Domain Name System servers in two locations, some AT&T business customers are experiencing intermittent disruptions in service,” an AT&T spokesman told IDG News Service by email. “Restoration efforts are underway and we apologize for any inconvenience to our customers.”

The attack appears to have affected enterprise customers using AT&T’s managed services DNS product.

“Our highest level of technical support personnel have been engaged and are working to mitigate the issue,” AT&T said in a message on a service status page.

But it added there is “no estimated time” for restoring the service.

DNS is responsible for converting human-friendly domain names into the numeric IP (Internet protocol) addresses that computers use to route data. When it fails, computers are unable to route data to its intended destination, even though the destination server remains online and accessible.

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack attempts to flood a server or system with so many packets of data that it becomes difficult or impossible to reach for legitimate traffic. It doesn’t necessarily stop the server from working, but the overload of data results in the system being all but unusable.

Service is returned to normal when the attack stops or when engineers find a way to absorb or deflect the nuisance traffic.

“We got our first report of problems at 6:31 a.m. Pacific time,” said Daniel Blackmon, director of software development, at Worldwide Environmental Products. The company tests vehicle emissions and has remote units deployed that report back to central servers.

“The problems mean none of the equipment we have in the field can contact our servers, and there is a limit to the amount of information they can hold offline.”

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Source: http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/260940/atandt_hit_by_ddos_attack_suffers_dns_outage.html

CHENNAI: Hacktivist group Anonymous brought down Congress party’s website on Tuesday in what it claimed to be a fight against corruption. For the first time, it rallied its followers on social networking site Twitter and asked them to participate in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that rendered the homepage of All India Congress Committee website (www.aicc.org.in) unavailable for most part of Tuesday.

The group’s tweets from the twitter handle @opindia_revenge led to another page which highlighted that the target of OpRiseIndia was corrupt corporations, political parties and media. “To help us simply click on the button ‘Go to Attack Page’ (everything is set for you), and click ‘Start Attack’,” it said. The site had a disclaimer that informed people that taking part in a DDoS attack is illegal and another link provided steps to protect oneself from detection and avoid revealing the location.

“We are fighting against corruption which goes across political parties,” said a member of the group in an internet relay chat. The Congress is their first target as it is in power now, the member said. The India-arm of Anonymous has done a series of virtual sit-ins or DDoS attacks on websites of Reliance Communications, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited, Internet Service Providers Association of India and All-India Trinamool Congress as part of its protest against internet censorship.

The latest attack, members said, was an effort to create awareness about corruption among people. “We have seen many scams which have come out in the open, but nobody knows what is really happening. Public is kept at dark. We don’t know which political parties are behind it,” said another member.

As for asking people to participate in the attacks, a member said the group was looking to create awareness about corruption on the internet. “We have enough people to attack these sites. We are tweeting to build more awareness,” said a member.

The group said its operation has nothing to do with Anna Hazare’s movement or any other organisation that is fighting against corruption. “This is a separate movement from Anonymous,” said a member, adding that they are not against any political party. “All political parties indulging in corruption will be our targets,” said a member.

When contacted, Vishvjit Singh, chairman of AICC’s computer department, said: “Attacks can keep coming in, hopefully we’ll be able to handle them.”

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Source: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-08-01/chennai/32980448_1_political-parties-corruption-hacktivist-group-anonymous

 

Security firm Radware claims to have spotted evidence online that suggests hactivist group Anonymous is gearing up to target denial-of-service attacks on the websites of British companies BT and GlaxoSmithKline during the Olympics, and maybe do much more.

The Radware Emergency Response Team has identified postings on Pastebin that suggest that Anonymous intends to attack London-based global network-services provider BT and pharmaceuticals and healthcare provider company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Both companies happen to have roles to play associated with the London-based Olympics — GSK is providing drug-testing and associated medical input, while BT is supporting numerous Olympics-related projects. Radware says its evidence is information posted by someone claiming to be tied to the shadowy group Anonymous.

Anonymous uses a few tools to attack its targets, and one of them is the High Orbit Ion Cannon (HOIC), a weapon that’s been out for about six months, says Carl Herberger, vice president of security solutions at Radware. He says there’s now attack information contained in what’s called a “HOIC booster” posted online and advertised as coming from Anonymous to attack both BT and GSK. He acknowledges, though, this “could be anybody.”

The HOIC tool provides you with the ability to use scripted code, Herberger says, noting it allows for opening up many connections from a single machine, and hence represents a more powerful attack tool from the older, known “Low Orbit Ion Cannon” attack tools, which couldn’t do this. The HOIC booster information that’s posted essentially represents something along the lines of “ordnance” that can be loaded into the HOIC to hit a target.

While the Pastebin information related to HOIC may in the end may be of no consequence, Herberger says there were a series of attacks on sites in India in the past in which this type of information was posted in advance, and the attacks did occur. Radware is putting out this information in what it regards as an advanced warning to help companies prepare.

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Source: http://www.networkworld.com/news/2012/073012-anonymous-bt-gsk-261281.html