Anonymous hacks Formula 1

Summary:Anonymous has hacked and executed Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against official and fan-created Formula 1 websites. The group is protesting the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Bahrain.

The hacktivist group Anonymous yesterday performed a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack against Formula 1's main website (formula1.com), which is operational again today. The group also hacked and defaced a Formula 1 fan site ( f1-racers.net), which is still not operational today. Other websites attacked include f1officialpartners.com, live-timing.formula1.com, and totalf1.com.

The attack comes less than two weeks after Anonymous hacked three UK government websites over what it called the country's "draconian surveillance proposals" and "derogation of civil rights." While writing this article, I noticed Anonymous today is also trying to take down gchq.gov.uk. Okay, now back to Formula 1.

This time, Anonymous blamed the controversial hosting of the Formula 1 Grand Prix on Sunday in Bahrain, where protests are still taking place. The group sent out a press release the day before in regards to Operation Bahrain, posted on AnonPaste. In a second AnonPaste post, the group called for its supporters to telephone bomb and e-mail bomb Formula 1 executives.

As you can see in the screenshot above, the group posted a message as part of the website's defacement. It starts by saying the people of Bahrain have struggled against the oppressive regime of King Hamad bin Al Khalifa for over a year:

For over one year the people of Bahrain have struggled against the oppressive regime of King Hamad bin Al Khalifa. They have been murdered in the streets, run over with vehicles, beaten, tortured, tear gassed, kidnapped by police, had their businesses vandalised by police, and have tear gas thrown in to their homes on a nightly basis.

The group argued that everyone knows about the poor situation in Bahrain, and Formula 1 has no excuse for continuing to host its event:

Still the regmine persists to deny any meaningful reform and continues to use brutal and violent tactics to oppress the popular calls for reformation. Not only is the Human Rights situation in Bahrain tragic, it becomes more drastic with each passing day. For these reasons the F1 Grand Prix in Bahrain should be strongly opposed. The Al Khalifa regime stands to profit heavily off the race and has promised to use live ammunition against protestors in preparation. They have already begun issuing collective punishment to entire villages for protests and have promised further retribution "to keep order" for the F1 events in Bahrain. The Formula 1 racing authority was well-aware of the Human Rights situation in Bahrain and still chose to contribute to the regime's oppression of civilians and will be punished.

Lastly, Anonymous made requests to the Bahrain government:

We demand the immediate release of human rights worker Abudlhadi Alkhawaja who has spent over 70 day son hunger strike. He has committed no crimes and is being punished by the regime for advocating people's basic human rights. Free him and all other political prisoners in Bahrain. End torture. Deport all mercenary police and stop the use of tear gas against civilians.

Abdulhadi al-Khawaja started a hunger strike in his prison cell to protest the life sentence he received from a military tribunal in June 2011. He stopped drinking water on Thursday and called a lawyer to write his will. His daughter, Zainab, yesterday sent out the following messages on Twitter:

Urgent: My father called now, he asked us to try and get him an urgent visit by his lawyer to write his will #bahrain He said, if they won't allow the lawyer to see him, he has three things he would like everyone to know #bahrain 1st: he is completely convinced in what he is doing, and that he has chosen this path & wud choose it again if time goes back #bahrain 2nd: he asks that nobody attempts to go on a similar strike til death #bahrain Finally my father said "if I die, in the next 24 hrs, I ask the ppl to continue on path of peaceful resistance..." #bahrain

Speaking of Twitter, here are the relevant tweets from Anonymous in regards to the Formula 1 attack, via the Anon_Central account, which has over 123,000 followers:

#OpBahrain Tango Down: http://www.formula1.com | Press Release - http://bit.ly/HQL0ZP #Anonymous #OpBarain: Tango Down: http://live-timing.formula1.com/ | Press Release - http://bit.ly/HQL0ZP #Anonymous | #Formula1 #Bahrain Message to @fia from #Bahrain freedom fighters & across the globe: #Stop supporting murders! #Formula1 http://pic.twitter.com/8uY5qZQO via @TBP_Stun #OpBahrain: Tango down: http://www.totalf1.com | Press Release - http://bit.ly/HQL0ZP | #Anonymous #OpBahrain | TARGET: http://www.formula1.com | Web Hive - http://plf2011.eu.pn/OpBahrainWebHive.html | Press Release - http://bit.ly/HQL0ZP | #Anonymous #Bahrain #OpBahrain: #USA: don't let #Abdulhadi al-Khawaja die! Sign the #petition here http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_alkhawaja/ #Bahrain #Formula1 #OpBahrain: More tango downs: http://www.f1officialpartners.com, http://www.f1sponsor.net | Stop #Formula1 #F1 | #Bahrain #Anonymous

Formula 1 is just one of many targets as part of Operation Bahrain. You can expect more attacks in the days to come.

See also:

Topics: Software Development, Browser, Security

About

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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