Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Hackers attack Salvadoran government web sites

The hacking group "Anonymous" has purportedly launched attacks on the web sites of several governmental offices in El Salvador, including the offices of the president. From a press report by AFP:

Hactivist group Anonymous has taken down a number of El Salvador's government web sites in its latest round of attacks.  The attacks are part of Operation Justice El Salvador, which was planned over the last two weeks. A number of official web sites were targeted, including several government ministries and the web site of the president, which was taken offline after receiving 30 million hits on Saturday.

Other web sites that were hit included those of the legislative assembly, the national civil police and the ministries of justice and labour.

Anonymous "tried to attack our website to publicize the private information of internal and external users," the ministry of the economy said, according to French news agency AFP.

Like previous attacks by the group, these appear to have been Distributed Denial of Service (DSoS) attacks, which overload a web site's server by flooding it with illegitimate traffic. This can be automated using a number of free tools that are available online, which Anonymous has used to its advantage.

El Salvador has been strongly criticised in the past by Amnesty International for its human rights record, including the abuse of anti-terrorism laws to detain people and the unlawful killing of people by police death squads, which is likely why the web site of the national civil police was attacked.
(I'm not sure that the last paragraph of this news report was anything more than speculation by the reporter).

According to Information Week, attacks attributed to Anonymous also hit Wal-Mart, Capital One, and Finnish sites in the past week.  

3 comments:

BRENDAN!! said...
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BRENDAN!! said...
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BRENDAN!! said...

This just seems wacky. The civil war ended years ago, and the human rights abuses were committed by the right-wing government -- and a leftist president is in power for the first time in history. There are genuine human rights abuses happening right now in neighboring Honduras, so why focus on El Salvador?

And if the individuals behind these cyberattacks are concerned about threats to journalists, why not target the websites of Pacific Rim, the company that was allegedly responsible for those threats, rather than the Salvadoran government for its ineptitude in investigating the threats and murders?