GCHQ denies Anonymous website takedown claims


Government surveillance agency GCHQ has hit back at claims its website was taken offline on Saturday by hacking group Anonymous.

The group's UK arm announced GCHQ's website as the target for its latest round of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks last week.

The weekly attacks are part of an ongoing protest by Anonymous against the UK government's extradition treaties with the US.

The GCHQ website was not taken down at all.

This week's attack, which started at 8pm on Saturday night, was the second time in two weeks the group has targeted GCHQ's website.

In a tweet sent by the @AnonATeam account, it was claimed the attack had succeeded, with the group posting a screen grab of the GCHQ site reading "service unavailable."

However, speaking to IT Pro earlier today, a GCHQ spokesperson denied this claim, before declining a request for a formal statement.

"What I can say is that the website was not taken down at all," he added.

The weekend proved to be a busy one for Anonymous, with the group staging further attacks in the UK and abroad, with mixed results.

Anonymous attacked government websites in Bahrain to demonstrate its displeasure at decision to stage a Formula One grand prix there this weekend.

The collective also staged an abortive DDoS attack on the Number 10 website on Sunday, before admitting it lacked the manpower needed to successively take the site down.

A tweet sent by the @AnonOpsUK account, less than an hour after the attack started, said the group had failed "miserably".

"Why is Number 10 such a b****r to down," asked the group in a follow-up post. "Unlike the Home Office, which can be down just by pressing the refresh button."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.