The Anonymous hacker collective seems to have adopted some slightly unusual tactics for its latest actions. It announced in advance that it would be launching attacks, allowing the U.K. government time to prepare. Then it chose Easter Saturday evening for its protest. It is hardly a time when huge numbers of people would be inconvenienced if they couldn’t gain access to the websites of the prime minister, the Home Office or the Ministry of Justice. The Telegraph reports:
The British branch of Anonymous – a loose global collective of computer hackers who often target law-enforcement websites – first advertised “#OpTrialAtHome” last Monday. A poster featured the photos of three British citizens who have been sent to the US to face trial – Gary McKinnon, Richard O’Dwyer and Christopher Tappin – together with the slogan “Fight extradition”. It included the address of the Home Office website and the direction to “charge ya lazers” on Saturday at 9pm GMT.
The resulting distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks disrupted the target websites for a time. Tweets apparently from Anonymous described this as a “digital protest” rather than hacking and threatened further similar actions every Saturday against U.K. government sites. On his company’s blog, Naked Security, Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for security firm Sophos, added this warning to those who would join Anonymous protests:
You have to admit that this is an audacious move by Anonymous and its supporters. Other hacktivists who have launched DDoS attacks against websites belonging to British authorities have been arrested in recent history, and are currently facing trial. Don’t forget, denial-of-service attacks are illegal. If you participate in such an attack you could find yourself receiving a lengthy jail sentences.