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Friday, 12 February 2010 17:24

Defence spooks and Feds go Anonymous hunting

By
The spooky Defence Signals Directorate has joined Federal Police investigations into the denial of service attacks on Government web sites that left the Department of Parliamentary Services without access to its internet site for three days.

The newly-opened Cyber Security Operations Centre within DSD has been coordinating the fight-back and clean up operations.

But as late as this afternoon the Parliament House website was still off-line, and the Department of Parliamentary Services was giving no guarantees that it would be able to keep the site fully functional.

The Attorney-Generals department confirmed to iTWire the attacks were being generated by the protest group Anonymous. The group said it had embarked on a direct action campaign to bring down Federal Government sites to protest plans to introduce an internet filtering system.

In a video posted to the internet Anonymous claimed the Government did not understand the nature of the internet and that it felt compelled to act to stop authorities destroying it. The group calls itself a beacon of light in the darkness.

Department of Parliamentary Services secretary Alan Thompson said the attacks had affected the ability of about 2,000 internal users being productive in what was a business Senate Estimates week for the Parliament.


Thompson said he was "bemused" that the attackers would target the Parliamentary Services web site, as it is not part of the Government. The campaign demonstrated a misunderstanding of our political system, he said.

Unlike other departments that report through portfolios Ministers to Governments, the DPS reports to the Presiding Officers - that is the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate.

"What we have been doing since this started is to progressively improve our defences against this kind of attack," Thompson told iTWire. "We are certainly not impressed by this, and frankly surprised. We are not the Government. We are the Parliament."

Thompson said the attack was accompanied by an "avalanche" of spammed pornography.

A spokesman for the Attorney General's department said the attacks had degraded the performance of a number of other  Government web sites, but it was the APH.gov.au that had most heavily attacked.

The attacks were a public nuisance akin to vandalism. The AGs spokesman said the attacks were pointless and would not influence government policy.

"Individuals who become involved in these types of cyber attacks need to be aware that they are committing an illegal act."

Anonymous is reportedly calling the attacks 'Operation Titstorm'
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