UK's Ministry of Justice website attacked in Assange protest

Summary:In protest of the U.K. government's threats against Ecuador's London embassy, Anonymous launched an attack against one prominent U.K. government ministry.

The U.K. government's Ministry of Justice website was attacked last night by hacktivists and was unable to load for several hours, in protest of the U.K.'s position on Julian Assange's asylum status to Ecuador.

Hacktivist collective Anonymous took credit for the attack, which saw the website attacked with a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

Other attacks included the British Prime Minister's website,, and the U.K. Dept. for Work and Pensions,, according to sister site CNET.

Dubbed #OpFreeAssange on Twitter, it comes days after the Wikileaks founder addressed supporters and the world's media on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London less than a week after he was granted diplomatic asylum by the Latin American country.

He faces arrest by U.K. police if he steps outside de facto Ecuadorian soil for breaching bail conditions, due to his impending extradition to Sweden to face questioning by prosecutors over alleged sexual crimes.

The U.K. government sparked international condemnation after it said it would revoke the embassy's territorial status and 'storm' the building to retrieve Assange if necessary.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said the website had been "experiencing some disruption" but quickly noted that the website is for "public information" and "no sensitive data is held on it."

"Measures put in place to keep the website running mean that some visitors may be unable to access the site intermittently." 

The ministry's site loaded -- albeit slowly -- this morning at the time of writing, and appears to have been a short-lived attack.

Topics: Government : UK, Security


Zack Whittaker is a writer-editor for ZDNet, and sister sites CNET and CBS News. He is based in the New York newsroom. His PGP key is: EB6CEEA5.

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