June 7, New Delhi: After government websites and corporate domains, online “hacktivist” group Anonymous India on Wednesday targeted the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) website for blocking file-sharing websites.
The corporate website of MTNL, which caters to the major Indian cities of New Delhi and Mumbai, was down for at least six hours. A post on hacking group Anonymous India’s blog said the company was attacked because it had blocked several file sharing websites.
But MTNL officials denied any knowledge of an attack. “We have individual websites for Delhi and Mumbai … and both are operational,” said MK Purohit, general manager of broadband services at the company’s Mumbai office.
Purohit said the company’s corporate website – the site Anonymous said it had hacked – was no longer in use. But an online search for the domain’s owner showed MTNL as the registrant until February 2014.
Anonymous India, who are responsible for the hack attacks have a page on Facebook says, “Anonymous has no Leaders, its the people who decide… How many of you in favor of taking down Reliance and Airtel ?… Like this post to vote for Reliance. Share this post to vote for Airtel”.
After posting 268 users had ‘liked’ the post and 63 opting to ‘share’ the post. The post also had over 60 comments from people baying for the blood of the ISPs. One user had said, “I AM USING RELIANCE I NEED THEM TO STOP BLOCKING ALL FILE SHARING WEBSITE PLEASE ANONYMOUS HELP US !!” while another said “Though I am an airtel user…but go take em down both….I dont mind to bear the inconvenience for freedom!”
Anonymous India is calling for a peaceful protests against Internet censorship on Saturday, 09 June, and are urging people to come out in numbers and support the movement. This flurry of activity and attacks by the group were prompted by a John Doe order from the Madras High Court on file sharing sites, prompting ISP’s to block popular torrent sites like Pirate Bay, and even video streaming sites like Vimeo.
The Indian hacker group is a spinoff of Anonymous, an amorphous group of activists, hackers and pranksters whose past targets have included Visa and MasterCard.
Anonymous cut its teeth with attacks on the music industry and the Church of Scientology but has lately turned its focus to law enforcement, intelligence and military-related sites.
In recent months, the group has targeted several Indian websites, ranging from those of government agencies and political parties to private ISPs and other corporate groups.