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SOCA knocked off the web by DDoS – again

03 May 2012

The UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency has today confirmed that a DDoS attack forced it take its website off-line at 22:00 Wednesday. As of writing, 14:30 Thursday, it is still down.

Little is yet known about this attack. SOCA has said “Clearly the things we’d like to stress are that the SOCA website contains only publicly available information, it does not provide access to operational material.” However, the current situation is puzzling.

When Anonymous or LulzSec or any other of the major hacking groups succeeds against a target – and particularly if it is such a high profile or prized target as SOCA – Twitter and Pastebin are awash with ‘Tango Down - expect us’ claims. As yet, this has not happened. 

So who is behind this? And is this attack still continuing after more than 16 hours since the site was taken offline? That seems a little unlikely. So why is it still down? One obvious possibility is that there is more to this than meets the eye. The SOCA spokesperson commented “DDoS attacks cause a temporary inconvenience to website visitors, they don’t impose a security risk to the organisation.”

This is true. But DDoS attacks are often tied into hack attacks, sometimes used to disguise a successful breach, and sometimes (it is claimed) almost out of pique over a failed hack. So was there a separate hack attack? Was it successful, and has SOCA gone off-line while it assesses the damage? This could explain why the hacktivist groups aren’t crowing – they weren’t involved.

All of this is conjecture. All we know at the moment is that SOCA has suffered a successful DDoS attack, is considered a target by Anonymous, and that we don’t yet know who was behind it. 

This article is featured in:
Internet and Network Security


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