Journalists weren’t initially quite sure what to make of the vague warning email sent to various news agencies yesterday but the intentions of global mischief-making group Anonymous became crystal clear this morning as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks took down the Web sites of the Australian Parliament House and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.
The sites came back online at 10:53 am and 11:20 am respectively after around an hour of downtime caused by the DDoS attack which was linked to the group’s ongoing efforts to protest the Rudd Government’s proposed Internet filter. However further reports suggest the APH site continued to go online and offline throughout the day.
Anonymous â a moniker adopted by a worldwide group of hackers that notably promulgated Project Chanology an ongoing campaign of disruption against the Church of Scientology â was immediately linked to the attacks which were quickly decried by agencies including SAGE-AU the peak body for systems administrators in Australia.
âThe impact of DOS attacks is frequently felt less by government agencies than by System Administrators many of them SAGE-AU members who are responsible for managing websites and serversâ the group said in a statement. âAs one member commented after a previous DOS attack on Australian government servers the result was to ‘waste the time of long-suffering System Administrators who had to stay back at work after hours to clean up the mess’.â
Anonymous has also been blamed for a similar DDoS attack last September which targeted the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Australian Communications and Media Authority. Other Anonymous actions include attacks on Web sites run by the Epilepsy Foundation of America and UK-based National Society for Epilepsy wowser group the No Cussing Club and an orchestrated campaign to flood YouTube with pornography.
This time around the manifesto sent to journalists on Monday â which refers to the threatened campaign of disobedience as ‘Operation Titstorm‘ â reaffirmed the group’s opposition to the proposed censorship legislation and threatened consequences for the government.
Lashing out at the âambiguityâ of the often-used term âunwanted contentâ the group’s message decried attempts to crack down on pornography featuring female ejaculation and women with small breasts â which has been cited as a reason for the banning of some adult content in the past â and threatened that âthe Australian Government will learn that one does not mess with our pornâ.
Reports from the Attorney-General’s department confirm the government is monitoring the attacks with the Department of Defence Cyber Security Operations Centre following the situation but there is no indication that perpetrators of the attacks have been identified or arrested yet.
TEXT OF MESSAGE FROM GROUP ‘ANONYMOUS’
Greetings Australian Government Officials Members of Local and International Press and the General Public. We are Anonymous.
Austrailia [sic] – 2/8/2010 – Over the past several years we have maintained a close watch on the actions of the Australian Government with particular focus on its stance towards internet censorship.
Australia’s laws on internet censorship are already among the most restrictive in the western world. Their government filters more internet content than any other Parliamentary Democracy. For some elements within the Government including Telecommunications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy this still is not enough. Late in January of 2009 he proposed legislature that would lead to mandatory ISP filtering for all of Australia. The stated goal is to prevent Australia from viewing “illegal and unwanted content” on the internet.
Anonymous’ concern with this legislature is twofold.
First the ambiguity of the term “unwanted content” is completely unacceptable. No government should have the right to refuse its citizens access to information solely because they perceive it to be “unwanted.” Indeed the only possible interpretation of “unwanted content” is content that the government itself does not want to be seen.
More importantly Anonymous does not approve of the steps already undertaken by the Australian Government to control what their populous sees. Claiming to be cracking down on “simulated child pornography” many depictions of women with small breasts in pornography have been banned. Officials cannot claim that they believe the models in these movies are in fact underage as the production the titles that have been affected are heavily regulated to ensure the age of the models. Instead they are relying on earlier ambiguous wording that allows pornography featuring models that “appear to be” under 18 years of age to be treated in the same manner as actual child pornography.
The repercussions of this censorship of a natural body type on the psyche of Australian women cannot be understated but this is not Anonymous’ concern. The Australian Government will learn that one does not mess with our porn. No one messes with our access to perfectly legal (or illegal) content for any reason.
We are Legion.
We do not Forgive.
We do not Forget