Titstorm 'irresponsible', says Conroy

Titstorm 'irresponsible', says Conroy

Summary: Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has called attacks on government websites meant as a protest against his planned filtering scheme "totally irresponsible".


Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has called attacks on government websites meant as a protest against his planned filtering scheme "totally irresponsible".

Conroy at AusCERT

Stephen Conroy at AusCERT
(Credit: Liam Tung & Ed Tran/ZDNet.com.au)

"Denial-of-service [DOS] attacks on government websites are totally irresponsible and potentially deny services to the Australian public," a spokesperson for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said in a statement to ZDNet.com.au.

"The government welcomes public debate on the merits of ISP [internet service provider] filtering, but denial-of-service attacks are not a legitimate form of political statement."

The attacks, claimed to have been led by a group called Anonymous and dubbed "Operation Titstorm", hit the Australian Parliament House and Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy websites this morning.

At 2:00pm the Department of Broadband's website was live again while parliament's remained down. At 2:20pm the Department of Immigration's website was not responsive. Despite this, the Department of Immigration responded to queries by stating that it was functioning "without issue".

Anonymous appeared to be using Internet Relay Chat (IRC) to coordinate the attack, with chat members saying they planned to further the attacks to other government websites, including the Department of Immigration's and the National Security website.

"KEEP HITTING APH [Australian Parliament House] AND IMMI [Immigration], hit nationalsecurity.gov.au if you have resources," said IRC user Snafu.

"[These] servers are held up by a piece of string and a slab of scotch tape," said a chat user with the handle Lolollol.

Technology experts group SAGE-AU also condemned the attacks.

"While SAGE-AU believes that imminent internet filtering legislation will fail to work, it has condemned DOS attacks as the wrong way to express disagreement with the proposed law."

Topics: Government AU, Security

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  • DOS and the Feds

    Bit of a worry that this could be achieved at Fed level. Doesn't inspire confidence. And these are the 'informed' people who want us to give us an internet filter?
  • These aren't mission-critical systems

    These attacks have been on public websites, which are resourced with only a moderate amount of server capacity and bandwidth. It seems to be standard operating procedure to not provide additional resources when the load goes up during a DDoS attack but simply let them be taken offline, or take them offline.

    Parliament House website, for example, merely provides parliamentary schedules and Hansard and other non-critical data to the public. It's not that big a deal if it's not available for an hour or three.

    Any systems which are actually used to run the country are handled very differently.
  • Online petition againt Internet censorship

    If you oppose the government's Internet censorship plan sign the EFA petition at:

  • APH

    APH is pretty mission critical for me as a reporter.

    I had to email APH for senate estimate transcripts :(. So old school
  • giggle

    Hilarious that Anonymous' attack on the government websites is stopping people from using them, which is irresponsible, but government stopping people using websites is fine.

  • Agree

    Completely agree. Not to mention its okay to march through the CBD and stop services/traffic etc to the public but digital versions are not ok?

    Another example of this goverments Luddite like views.
  • Huh?

    "Denial-of-service [DOS] attacks on government websites are totally irresponsible and potentially deny services to the Australian public," a spokesperson for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said

    THATS WHAT THE FILTER IS DOING.... why does this guy still have a job?
  • condemned the attacks..

    well it seems that they are not listening to the voices of the people

    so what do we have left? DOD attack on the their sites proves people wont take this rubbish laying down

    Still a DOD attack is working on these sites?
    great IT department the government must have.....
  • Irony

    I think its ironic that Minister Conroy calls these attacks irresponsible as they may potentially deny services to the public. Isn't that the entire point of the protest? To show that no one should deny information to the public. It's a bit like bus drivers during the Civil Rights movement complaining that African Americans were denying people seats in the front of the bus
  • Why?

    Why is it okay for them to censor what they see as inappropriate and when Anonymous does it, it's "irresponsible"?
  • I hate this plan

    "The government welcomes public debate on the merits of ISP filtering" What about public debate on the stupidity, or damage that it will do to our IT industry.
    What investor will take an IT startup here seriously when during the presentation they can't get to their own site or another specific one that has been innadvertently blocked.
    I hate this plan with every fibre of my being. I am not about to join the DOS but I have protested peacfully and will continue to do so, my vote has changed and I don't know what I will do if it goes through, probably subvert it and teach anyone who wants to know how to.
  • geneus

    i see these attacks as a good thing!
    if the goverment wants to stop people from using there basic rights of freedom of speech over the internet, people should stand against it.
    by commiting to these attacks i think that these people are showing the goverment wat these laws will do to people involved in porn (most are honist people making a living) by censoring the goverments sites
    i hope these attacks contunue
  • Is it open for debate?

    "The government welcomes public debate on the merits of ISP [internet service provider] filtering". Oh yeah? Seriously? Thats a two faced lie. I haven't found anyone who regularly uses the internet who agrees with the filter, and everyone from ISP's, users, to myself have already stated why the filters are useless (many times, in detail). Any sensible political party should have listened by now and agreed. They would only be effective if they arrested people from anonymising themselves on the internet (they already tried that in SA though, and that would spark riots VERY quickly).

    Everyone on the internet knows that there are already ways to protect kids, and we also all know, that Tor is a 2 click free way to override the censorship anyway (making it a waste of money). This filter is aimed at parents who have never used a computer in their life, will never believe that their children do anything wrong (and even when they do, they will blame others), and finally, are too lazy to watch their kids. THE FILTER WONT WORK. And Conroy is a damned liar, it isn't up for debate. If it had been up for public debate on TV (and the blacklist was shown on TV and revealed how many legal sites were on it), the debate would be quickly lost. I'll believe you Conroy when its a public debate. Get a proper computer degree before you start making clueless computing laws.

    Honestly, I think its good that anonymous is silencing the government websites, and I hope they silence the government even more during elections. After all, they aren't listening to us, and I think that living the "rich" lifestyle for so long has made them forget who voted for them

    In fact, it seriously makes me consider if I want to do a proper politics/law course, so at least someone in government is qualified enough to discuss IT matters.

    Full support to Anonymous on this - The Government is not listening and is decieving the people on this issue - sadly sometimes drastic actions are needed to bring the issue to light .
    This is from a Labour voter for 28 years but they wont get my vote if this goes through
  • Political BS

    @giggle = spot on

    why don't people see the BS Conroy and Co are spinning?

    ... but then again the majority still believe in Santa's big brother God.

    Still, anything that draws attention to the real issue is a good thing. The more the merrier.
  • Open letter concerning Australian Internet Censorship.

    To whom it may concern, and for the unaware public.

    Do not be confused about the intentions behind our attacks on various Australian government websites. Various media have falsely reported that our efforts are in defence of pornography. This is not about pornography. This is about freedom. The fact remains that under this proposed Internet censorship scheme over time the freedoms of Australians will continue to be eroded, all in the name of saving us from a threat that exists only in the minds of a vocal and very uninformed minority who wish to impose their morals and values on the public at large. We are in no way encouraging child pornography; however other courses of action should be encouraged, for Australia's "Cyber Safety Plan" creates problems in itself.

    The fact is that "banned" content can be posted on ANY website, at any time; introducing these tools is only a way to silence the selected few. Once the tools are put into place, they can and will be abused, as it has happened throughout history. Costs to taxpayers are estimated to be $44.2 million. This money could be put to far better use. Furthermore, the creation of such an announced filter is in direct violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Charter of 1948, Article 19; which states: "Everyone has the right of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

    No democratic government should ever favour one community's views over others, be it religious, political or otherwise; it is discriminatory toward minority groups. This censorship has been nothing more than a modern day prohibition and attack against freedoms that the Australian populace previously enjoyed.

    We will not back down until this illicit censorship has been removed; the freedoms and rights of the Australian public must be restored. Further attacks will continue on a much larger scale in a wide variety of forms. Attempts to stop us will only bring more negative publicity to this internet censorship campaign and make the Australian government look disgraceful in the eyes of the international public.

    We are Anonymous. We do not forgive. We do not forget. We are Legion. Expect us.
  • I agree with you

    That the government is happy to inflict denial of service upon any Australian seeking to visit a site the government deems ‘unwanted’ pretty much leads to frustrated Australian internet users responding in kind.
    Especially considering the sheer arrogance of Conroy with his mocking, laughing at and just plain ignoring the vast number of orthodox protesters to his plans for censorship lunacy.
  • Irresponsible!?

    All heroic acts involve some irresponsibility!! It involves risks and courage!! Glad to see supporting comments to these heroes!!

    Down to censorship and tyranny!!

    Long life to Anons united at Ebauns!!
  • Conroy and Co caused this mess.

    No sympathy from me here Conroy and Co. You have created this monster with your pathetic censorship scheme. And in the Hungry Beast interview you know next to nothing about how RC material is handled!.

    Conrudd and Co its your fault for this and serves you right!
  • Denying services?

    And here all this time I thought disabling the PM and Labor Party sites would be considered a _service_ to Australia... fancy that.