Anonymous Plans Saturday Attack on British Intelligence Agency
An aerial view of GCHQ's modern headquarters outside the sleepy English town of Cheltenham.
CREDIT: Bthebest/Creative Commons
Updated at 10 a.m. ET Thursday: The GCHQ spoke to SecurityNewsDaily about the planned Anonymous cyberattack. See the end of the story for the agency's response.
The Anonymous hacktivists are loading their weapons for another online attack against a United Kingdom government website to protest the extradition of three accused cybercriminals.
On its AnonOpUK Twitter feed, Anonymous announced that on April 14 at 8 p.m. GMT, it "will be firing our Laz0rs" at the website of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The GCHQ is a U.K. intelligence agency that, along with the Security Service (MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), protects U.K. government agencies from cyberthreats.
Anonymous is setting its sights on the GCHQ as part of its "Operation Trial at Home" campaign, a coordinated and persistent set of denial-of-service attacks deployed to voice the group's opposition to the planned (or already scheduled) extradition to the U.S. of three accused cybercriminals, Gary McKinnon, Christopher Tappin and Richard O'Dwyer. In a tweet from UKAnon, the hacktivists say the attack is also to fight for online privacy.
Last Saturday (April 7), Anonymous launched its first offensive under the Operation Trial at Home banner, flooding the website of the U.K. Home Office with so much traffic it was unable to function for several hours. Anonymous also disrupted the website of the British prime minister and the Ministry of Justice site.
Following the successful attacks, Anonymous boasted it would launch denial-of-service attacks every Saturday against U.K. government websites.
UPDATE: In an email to SecurityNewsDaily, a GCHQ spokesperson said the agency is aware of this Saturday's planned denial-of-service attack, and has "reasonable and proportionate information assurance precuations in place."
"The GCHQ website is our public face and is not business critical," the spokesperson said. "It has no impact on our operational capability."
The GCHQ said it has issued an advisory note "to all government departments alerting them of the threat and providing guidance."