New Zealand Parliament denies DDoS attack

Updated: Anonymous claims responsibility for site outages over the weekend

The New Zealand Government has denied reports of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against the New Zealand Parliament website over the weekend, despite cyber activist group Anonymous claiming responsibility for outages.

NZ Parliament general manager, Geoff Thorn, said the website had had a “minor outage” early on Monday morning which it had identified as an issue with its server.

“Apart from that, it’s been up the whole time,” he told Computerworld Australia. “We haven’t had a problem here and certainly nothing that I’m aware of.”

According to Thorn, the Parliament office received threats to the website on a regular basis.

Despite Thorn’s denial, the Anonymous group this week claimed responsibility for outages to the website as one of several DDoS attacks it has made against government and corporate websites over past month. On Tuesday the group posted a video which threatened direct action against the Federal Government.

The group has specifically voiced protest over file sharing laws passed by the government last month, taking offence to elements that threaten to deactivate the internet accounts of repeat copyright infringers for six months, and pay a $NZ15,000 fine. An unidentified Anonymous spokesperson said in the video that the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill was an example of “guilty until proven innocent”.

“We have been watching the actions taken by you and your legislation and the passing of the infringing file sharing is both a form of censorship and invasion of privacy,” the spokesperson said.

“Anonymous will not let this go by unnoticed.”

The bill would pass into law on 1 September this year.

Following the revealing of Anonymous’ claims, Thorn refused to further comment on any "particular incident we may or may not have had".

"IT services are always at risk, this is the reason we all use firewalls," he said.

Anonymous, which has no identifiable member structure, has targeted multiple groups for different actions, recently including attacks on Sony after the global entertainment giant sued developers GeoHot and Graf_Chokolo for successfully jailbreaking the PlayStation 3's firmware.

Got a security tip-off? Contact Hamish Barwick at hamish_barwick at idg.com.au

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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