Anonymous claims responsibility for takedown of Egyptian government sites

Egyptian protestors have been demonstrating in Cairo, demanding that the military government that took over after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak move faster on democratic reforms. The Egyptian military police began a crack down on the protectors last weekend.

In response, Anonymous said it launched DDoS attacks against government websites, including the website of the president’s office and the bureau for tourism, according to a report by Silicon Republic.

Politically motivated DDoS attacks are on the rise, noted Mike Paquette, chief strategy officer (CSO) of Corero Network Security. He said the Egyptian attacks as well as DDoS attacks against news sites during the Russian presidential elections demonstrate that political activism is a “strong and real motivator” for DDoS attacks.

“These recent events place DDoS at the heart of electoral politics, with claims being made that high-level officials, in attempts to sway election results, used DDoS attacks as a mechanism of propaganda, censorship, information withholding, and unfair political advantage”, Paquette said in an email.

The Corero CSO said that DDoS attacks against governments can cause considerable damage, such as interruption of critical services, loss of tax or fee revenue, loss of citizen trust and government productivity, and negative publicity. DDoS attacks can also function as a smokescreen for confidential data theft.

Paquette warned that fringe groups might employee DDoS attacks against websites of candidates and media outlets in the run up to the 2012 US presidential election.

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