Government websites hacked by Anonymous

Anonymous flag (via Wikimedia Commons)

Several websites have been hacked in protest at a proposed Irish “SOPA” style law.

The Departments of Justice and Finance had their websites hacked by “hacktivist” group anonymous yesterday and rather embarrassingly, Enda Kenny’s own personal address has also been hacked.

The Journal.ie reported this morning that justice.ie and finance.ie had been offline intermittently since early yesterday. A number of lesser websites had also been taken down, such as foi.ie (The Freedom of Information website) and Blue Blindfold, a website concerning human trafficking. The Citizens Information site was also targeted.

Anonymous have said that the operation against the Irish government sites was a success and a “warning shot”. They have, however, condemned the action against the FOI and Blue Blindfold sites. Anonymous Sweden tweeted “Note; http://foi.gov.ie/ and Blue Blindfold where [sic] never targeted by anonymous, and we condem [sic] any such action taken on them”.

Anonymous activists co-ordinated the attack through Twitter, urging their supporters to bring down the websites using a co-ordinated DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. This involves bombarding the websites concerned with thousands of hits.

A list of phone numbers for Fine Gael and Labour TDs was also distributed by the group, and was posted on websites such as Boards.ie. There are also reports on Twitter that Sean Sherlock’s own webpage has been targeted.

Perhaps most personally embarrassing for the government is the news that Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s own personal website has been hacked. Enda Kenny.ie leads to a site filled with a scathing series of articles from Irish newspapers detailing “broken promises” regarding the recession.

There are also pictures of Enda Kenny with Margaret Thatcher captioned the “The Celtic Tories”. Images also play on Fine Gael’s historic connection with the fascist “Blueshirts” and show Enda Kenny fantasising about Margaret Thatcher. According to posts on Boards.ie, the website has been in existence for some time and is unrelated to the Anonymous attacks.

The proposed bill, S.I. No. of 2011 European Communities (Copyright and Related Rights) Regulations 2011, will allow injunctions to taken by copyright holders against third party websites who host pirated material. The man responsible, Junior Minister Sean Sherlock has denied that the law will lead to the blocking of websites such as Facebook, YouTube etc. Minister Sherlock has stated on Twitter that: “There is no intention by the government to introduce legislation to block access to the Internet or sites. I have state[d] that unambiguously.”

Sinn Fein Communications spokesman Martin Ferris called for an Oireachtas debate on the legislation, saying that the party was concerned at the impact on “individual freedom but also […] a healthy sector of the Irish economy.”

This article appeared on Studenty.me on January 25.

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