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Anonymous Carry-out DDoS Attack on Japanese Airport Website

The hacktivist group Anonymous have claimed responsibility for a DDoS attack which took down the website of Narita International Airport, near Tokyo.

IB Times reported that the website went offline for several hours on 22 and 23 January and although flights operated normally passengers were unable to access information on the site.

A Twitter account linked to Anonymous revealed the attack was carried out as part of a revenge protest following the detainment of Ric O’Barry, a leading animal rights activist, on 18 January. O’Barry was refused entry into Japan by immigration authorities after he was accused of planning to support a campaign against the slaughter of dolphins.

According to activists, each year 20,000 dolphins, small whales and porpoises are killed for their meat by Japanese fishermen. The Taiji dolphin drive hunt is an annual event that takes place in Taiji, Wakayama between September and March, with the animals caught for human consumption or for resale to dolphinariums. Despite providing significant income for local residents, the hunt has attracted international criticism amid concerns about the cruelty of the killings and the high levels of mercury found in dolphin meat.

This latest animal rights Anonymous attack is the second carried out on a Japanese organization in less than a week, with the hacktivists recently bringing down the websites of automotive manufacturer Nissan in an anti-whaling campaign.

Infosecurity spoke to Dave Larson, Chief Operating Officer at Corero Network Security, about the increasing prevalence of DDoS attacks and the affect they are having on organizations. He said:

“DDoS attacks have been increasingly present in the headlines, and I think the difference in the last six to 12 months is that organizations are more aware of what a DDoS attack is, and its impact. ‘Cyber-attack’ or ‘website hack’ were terms used when organizations weren’t quite sure what caused the outage. This uptick in reported or confirmed DDoS attacks really indicates not only the upsurge in attack activity, but the awareness organizations now have when it comes to this service availability and network security issue.”

He added:

“The motivations for DDoS attacks are so wide ranging that it is difficult to predict who will be the next victim. Our recommendation is that any internet connected business, or the internet providers themselves, must take a proactive approach to real-time DDoS mitigation. It’s not a matter of who gets hit next, it’s when.”

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