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Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Zealand Parliament Website Down: Anonymous Suspected of Taking Down Kiwi Gov Website

New Zealand Parliament Website Down: Anonymous Suspected of Taking Down Kiwi Gov Website

The parliament website experienced intermittent outages today, in the wake of a threatened attack by hacker collective Anonymous.

Anonymous said New Zealand had "crossed the line" when it passed the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill and that a quick example would be made of the government, in a press release on their website recently. A user in the Operation Black Out IRC (chat channel) said over Easter that while there were no solid plans as of then, the government servers were "extremely weak" and could be taken down by a person in "two minutes. The government might like to work on that,"


The same user claimed to have hacked a minister's website and sent a message to all the MPs who voted for the bill, expressing contrition for voting for the bill, and outlining its failures, although this has as yet not been confirmed.

And today an email was sent at 9am by parliamentary service general manager Geoff Thorn to MPs that said the parliamentary website was experiencing intermittent outages due to excessive load, a problem often caused by distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks favoured by Anonymous.

"It is possible that this traffic is related to a public threat to bring down the Parliamentary website," Mr Thorn said in the email.

Green MP Gareth Hughes, who has been lauded on the internet for opposing the bill, said today that while he supported non-violent direct action, attacking the parliamentary website was not the way for anyone to go.

"I think the parliamentary website is part of the democratic process of New Zealand, it's essential that people get access to it."

Mr Hughes said while the group was rightly concerned about the bill, the appropriate ways to protest were to join the campaign of blacking out avatars on social media sites, joining the protests organised in May and getting in touch with the government.

He said the bill had been improved from Labour's first draft, but that there were still issues, such as "grave concerns" about the presumption of guilt and the internet account suspension penalty.

"It's disproportionate, it doesn't work and I believe accessing the internet is a modern human right."

Mr Hughes said the government needed to clearly state how they would interpret the fines schedule, and when and how they would decide to bring in the account suspension.

Reports on various sites, including the Facebook page for the Black Out (Opposing the bill) campaign, are confused - a counter has been linked stating it has been over a day (NY time) since Anonymous was due to attack New Zealand while other posts state that attacks were planned for today at 3pm.

And on Wednesday, the Twitter user YourAnonNews announced that Anonymous itself was under attack at its anonops.net site. A post on the Anonymous facebook page stated the group's anonops.tk website was undergoing maintenance.

Anonymous was accused of the hack which stole millions of users' personal information from the Sony PlaystationNetwork but the group has denied responsibility.


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