back to article braces for possible Wikileaks hacklash

UK government websites are bracing themselves for an attack from Anonymous. Failure to grant Julian Assange bail at a hearing due to take place on Tuesday could be enough to push pro-Wikileaks activists – who have already attacked Mastercard, Amazon, PayPal and Swedish prosecutors – into an assault on UK government systems. …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    > act of cyber-terrorism

    > Whatever happens, we do hope politicians don't start describing any temporary disruption of

    > government websites as an act of cyber-terrorism, or that the incident will end up being used

    > to justify increased spending on government cyber-defence

    Grief, what else do you call it? Its the normal terrorist blackmail approach of "if you don't give into our demands we'll keep doing terrible things.

    And if their cyber defences turn out to be inadequate to cope with this sort of thing what else is going to happen but extra expenditure to harden them up? Cap gemini and the like must be rubbing their hands in anticipation.

    Anon because who wants to be the next script kiddie target?

    1. Loyal Commenter

      Why it isn't 'cyber-terrorism'

      1) It's not an act of terrorism. The ever widening of the term by governments notwithstanding, terorrism is generally considered to be an act aimed at causing terror, such as blowing shit up. This would be more like an act of mischief.

      2) Using the term 'cyber' instantly disqualifies you from being taken seriously, unless you are William Gibson, and it is one of the last two decades of the twentieth century.

      TBH, anyone attacking government systems would be pretty daft to do so, even if part of a swarm of others. You'd be quite likely to find yourself prosecuted under the Computer Misuse Act (IANAL, yadda yadda).

      1. Steve Evans

        Re: Why it isn't 'cyber-terrorism'

        Agreed. Another oft misused term is "hacker". The recent "phone hacking" was a perfect example. The "hacker" gained access by using the default, unchanged passwords for the mobile phone voicemail systems.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down

          Phone hacking

          "The recent "phone hacking" was a perfect example. The "hacker" gained access by using the default, unchanged passwords for the mobile phone voicemail systems."

          Except that's not how he did it, if you read the details of the case.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      It's really not terrorism. Really.

      1. despairing citizen

        Definition of Terrorism

        See S1 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (as amended)

        attack on government web site would definately be an act of terrorism

        but given the same defition, all our police officers and military are also terrorists

        (threat/use of violince to facilitate political (forgien policy) or idealogical goals (law enforcement)

        But there again Clinton, Bush and Obama should have been arrested under the 2006 act, for glorifying acts of terrorism (i.e. 4th of July celebrations)

        Point is our government is so profligate and naff at writing legislation that these days just about everybody breaks some law

    3. bell

      Yes but no but yes but no but.

      Yes, it's coercive. The physical world analogy is closer to parking the entrance to a harbour shut than blowing up a truck in the basement of an IRS building though.

      I'll grant you the point on extra defence. It would be lovely if it didn't all go to consulting muppets though. Some improved co-operation and less petty empire minding between departments would go far further toward improving the resilience against this sort of thing.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "cyber-terrorism", "Grief, what else do you call it?"

      I think you'll find being mildly inconvenienced is not the same thing as being terrorised. For a cyber-attack to be cyber-terrorism it'd have to have the potential (or the perceived potential) to cause loss of life or similar.

    5. MinionZero

      @1st AC

      @"Its the normal terrorist blackmail approach of "if you don't give into our demands we'll keep doing terrible things."

      What like the normal approach of demanding to keep the population in the dark or they will inflict terrible things on anyone trying to tell us the truth. Its our governments who are doing most of the terrorizing and blackmailing these days. Have you not been keeping up with the leaks?

      Or are you one of these pro-authoritarian sycophants who wants the population lied to & deceived with serious punishments for anyone getting near the truth, whilst our rich and powerful continue to subvert the resources of their countries for their own personal gain. That is by the way an act of outright treason, as in, "The betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith; treachery, a violation of allegiance to one's sovereign or to one's state"

      So I ask you, who should really be facing charges?

    6. Ian Stephenson

      Re: Grief, what else do you call it?

      hmm... denying access to something...

      how about:

      picket line?

      student sit-in?

      management lockout?

      only one of the above is potentially illegal as far as I can tell

      Hardly causing terror is it? (which is a bit of a requirement for TERRORism)

    7. Maurice Shakeshaft

      And you think CAP Gemini wont be rubbing their hands...?

      Given the unscrupulous nature of big business it would not surprise me in the least if it the big IT suppliers didn't see this as a way to drum up business...

      'We've specially hardened our switches to limit cyber attacks and they are available to you, with our bespoke, hardened, software, for the one time offer price of £7250 ea." Buy now because we have a big order from 'Province A' - or some other place.....

  2. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Up


    LOL! ROFL!

    UK....Gov...trying...LOL...fight off web based DDOS attacks! Go on pull...ROFL....other one! They couldn't even....LOL....manage to run a few databases without 185 committee meetings....ROLF....and 3 years of prep! LOL!

    Best laugh all day! Cheers!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has it started already?

    What the hell's been up with LINX the past couple of days?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      yes good question.. its not just us then...

      3 days or since thursday?

  4. Matt 21

    Don't panic, don't panic

    well, that should get the headless chickens moving.

    Mind you a lot of the gov sites are so slow I'm not sure if anyone will notice.

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    I really would prefer a satchel charge DOS attack.

    Because all this secrecy-loving, money-grubbing, economy-destroying, fat-ass-growing authoritarian-but-lecturing politician and security riffraff starts to really get on my wick.


    "Assange, who faces sexual assault charges in Sweden, was arrested last week and held on remand."

    This should read "handed himself in".

    1. Anonymous Coward


      he could not "handed himself in" as he was not classed as wanted (ie on the run/evading arrest). he was asked to attend a station which he did, where he was arrested. - I would say re-arrested as hes already seen these charges before (where they were dropped), but since it wasn't the uk police I wont bother.

  6. Alfred 2

    I'm still baffled

    Guy hands himself in. Some fairly well known people are prepared to vouch for him etc. and bail is still refused.

    I really don;t understand how the law works.

  7. jonathanb Silver badge

    HMRC already down?

    Go to , then click on "Paying HMRC", then click on one of the taxes (I tried VAT), then click "Paying by debit or credit card over the internet: BillPay", then click "Make a payment or register on the BillPay service". You get taken to , which is operated by Santander. Usually you can type in the appropriate tax reference number, your debit card number and the amount you want to pay and send your tax liability money across to them. It hasn't been working all day. Could someone be trying to starve the government of cash?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not an easy beast to starve

      Since most tax is deducted at the paypacket and paid to HM Gov by BACS.

      An inability for the rest to pay by the internet will cut little ice with the HMRC since I believe they still take cheques.

      Attacks on government services is more likely to harm the perception of the activists by the general populace. It's all very well supporting the principle but when the supporters cause one personally to be inconvenienced the argument gets diluted.

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: Not an easy beast to starve

        And the second biggest tax take is VAT added to everything you buy and paid over by the retailer. That is what I was trying to pay yesterday. I phoned up and they took the payment details over the phone, so everything is fine, they got their money. If you pay VAT by cheque it has to reach them in time for the cheque to clear by the end of the month, whereas if you pay by internet, you get until about a week after then end of the month to pay. You also get a dated, numbered receipt to print out to prove you made the payment on time.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wouldn't bet on it

    Anonymous has grown a) bored and /b/) scared. There is a backlash against the individuals who have stuck their head over the parapet to give interviews as an "Anonymous spokesperson" (which is both oxymoronic and regular moronic), along with a widespread suspicion that they're actually just trolling the media, and this has turned into the inevitable infighting and accusation-flinging about exactly who is DDoSing Anonymous' communication channels. The clueless kids who thought it a bit of fun to sign their bandwidth over to remote LOIC controllers have been, to say the least, put off by the very real threat of criminal charges now looming over the arrested botnet herders, hence the drive in recent days to move tactics to actively promoting the content of the leaked documents.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The Horde keeps attacking websites. Oh big whup, is all I can say to that.

    When the IFPI crap was flying about, they had the perfect opportunity to really hurt a lawyer firm. No web site means, ooh, a handful of people looking for your web site can't find it. Having no email service though, means you're pretty effectively fucked for the duration of the DDoS.

    Did the Horde attack IFPI's email service though? Even though an octopus/slowloris/xerxes-style attack would easily knock it over? Nah...

    I'm sure there's a few smart people in that herd of cats, but most of them seem to be completely bloody brainless. And going after a government, even one as inept as the UK? That is going to be... interesting.

    (Anonymous because, well, duh)

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  11. ratfox

    Christmas Island?

    The links "Email when there is WikiLeaks news" etc. point to an address in the domain I wonder why that TLD, out of all others.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    OT question for The Register

    Why are the three links to your WikiLeaks coverage all shortened with Your links are on a Web page, not on Twitter or in a lesser email client that breaks long links.

    This is bad linkage hygiene.

  13. Mips
    Jobs Halo

    Woah! Hang on a minute...

    .. I am all for freedom of speech but has anybody considered this guy might not be as innocent as he is claiming. If he is innocent then he has nothing to fear. Why the threat of DoS.

    It is anarchy writ large.

    So if I bumped off Paris Hilton, but deny the fact, and now for proof I am going to bring down the Internet. Come on get real.

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