The Serious Organised Crime Agency has taken its website offline due to a distributed denial-of-service attack.
The UK law enforcement agency asked its hosting provider to take the site down at approximately 22.00 on Wednesday, and the site was taken offline at around 22.30, a SOCA spokesman told ZDNet UK on Thursday. The site remained offline at the time of writing.
"The site was taken offline last night to limit the impact of a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) against other clients hosted by our service provider," the SOCA spokesman said. "The website only contains publically available information."
The spokesman declined to say who the agency thought was behind the attack, but said it did not pose a security risk.
While website attacks are "inconvenient to visitors", SOCA does not consider maintaining the necessary bandwidth to deal with DDoS a good use of taxpayers' money, the SOCA spokesman said.
A Twitter news feed that claims links to the Anonymous hacking collective publicised the DDoS on Thursday, but did not claim responsibility.
"TANGO DOWN: DDoS attack takes down site of UK Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)," said the @YourAnonNews feed.
The SOCA website was taken offline in June 2011, in an action that was claimed by LulzSec, a hacking group affiliated to Anonymous.
"What is surprising is that defence and intelligence levels have not been improved sufficiently since the last successful DDoS attack on SOCA in June 2011," said Ovum analyst Andrew Kellett. "Hacktivist attacks targeting particular operations have been known to be both persistent and long-standing, requiring extensive DDoS defences."
SOCA announced last week that it worked with the FBI to take down 36 websites used to sell stolen bank card data.
On Thursday Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said that SOCA had "recovered nearly two million items of stolen payment card details since April 2011 worth approximately £300m to criminals" in a speech made in Estonia.
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