Anonymous attacks UK government websites in 'Operation Free Assange'

Anonymous attacks UK government websites in 'Operation Free Assange'

Ministry of Justice website hit hardest by DDoS assaults

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The Ministry of Justice has experienced problems with the availability of its website following a denial-of-service (DDoS) attack by Anonymous, which is demanding freedom for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who was granted asylum by Ecuador last week.

The hacker group said that it had taken down the Justice Ministry website as part of its 'Operation Free Assange'. The British police have stated that they will arrest Assange if he comes out of the Ecuador embassy in London, where he has taken refuge since June, to extradite him to Sweden where he is wanted for investigations into alleged sexual misconduct.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed this morning that it is having problems with the availability of its website, and doesn't have a time frame for when it will be resolved. Measures put in place to keep the website running mean that some visitors may be intermittently unable to access the site.

Other government sites, including the Department for Work and Pensions, the Home Office and the Prime Minister's site, have also been targeted, according to the Anonymous Twitter feed. But it doesn't seem like they have been as hard hit.

Ecuador said it gave Assange political asylum because it fears he will be prosecuted, and extradited from Sweden to the US on charges related to the information WikiLeaks has published.

Two of WikiLeaks' most widely reported leaks involved US diplomatic cables and a video from a US helicopter gunship in Iraq (the so-called "Collateral Murder" video). A US Army private, Bradley Manning, is charged with leaking the documents and is being held pending a military trial.

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