Australian government websites taken offline by Anonymous

Hacktivist group says the attacks were in response to proposed data retention laws

Members of hacktivist group Anonymous have claimed credit for taking down 10 Queensland government websites earlier this week in response to proposed changes to data retention laws currently under discussion by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS).

The PJCIS inquiry is considering reform proposals for telecommunications interception, telecommunications sector security and Australian intelligence community legislation.

One of the proposals includes "tailored data retention periods for up to two years for parts of a data set", with every internet users' entire Web history logged and stored for up to two years.

According to a blog posting entitled Par:AnoIA Queensland, members of the group used an authentication bypass to loot some “booty” from Queensland government servers which, according to Anonymous, showed how the Australian government was monitoring citizen's activity online.

Acording to a Twitter account called OperationAustralia, the attacks began on 21 July. The latest message reads: "Be Prepared Australia! Something BIG is heading your way."

Previous messages listed the websites attacked and also requested a chat with Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, about the proposed data retention laws.

The defacement message posted on the Queensland government websites which were taken down read: "Welcome Australian Boys and Girls. You may have heard about the proposed National Security changes: You probably don't like them: We certaintly don't."

"Do you like the idea of surrending your passwords or people spying on your Twitter or Facebook account? Nope, we didn't think you did."

"Your government seems to think everybody in Australia is a terrorist. Do you still want to believe in your paranoid leaders? If we were Australia, we sure wouldn't."

The original message can be found at Gizmodo.

The websites, which have now been restored, included:

  • sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au

  • regions.qld.gov.au

  • sd.qld.gov.au

  • dtrdi.qld.gov.au

  • science.qld.gov.au

  • createitmakeitliveit.qld.gov.au

  • smartawards.qld.gov

  • tourism.industry.qld.gov.au

  • workliveplay.qld.gov.au

  • lib.qld.gov.au

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