CyberLaw Blog

A news resource for CyberLaw and Cyber-Rights issues from around the globe

Archive for the ‘Hacking’ Category

British Facebook hacker sentenced to eight months in jail

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

British Facebook hacker sentenced to eight months in jail: “A man who hacked into Facebook and claimed he wanted to help the company expose vulnerabilities to its system has been sentenced to an eight month jail term.”

(Via OUT-LAW News.)

WikiLeaked US cables link China to Google hack

Monday, November 29th, 2010

WikiLeaked US cables link China to Google hack: “

Clinton ordered surveillance of UN leadership

A Chinese contact told the American Embassy in Beijing that China’s Politburo ‘directed’ last December’s hack on Google’s internal systems, according to the confidential US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks and various news organizations on Sunday.…

(Via The Register – Public Sector.)

The Register: DoS attack stuffs Turkey’s internet censors

Friday, June 18th, 2010

DoS attack stuffs Turkey’s internet censors • The Register

Hackers protest net interference
By Jane Fae Ozimek, 18th June 2010 15:12 GMT

Access to the internet in Turkey is becoming increasingly ragged, as growing state censorship collides with retaliation by anti-censorship hackers, leading to difficulties both in viewing sites and applying key online functions.

Earlier this month, The Register reported that multiple Google services including Google Translate, Google Docs and Google Books were inaccessible. This appears to be a consequence of a request that Turkish ISPs block access to certain IP addresses associated with YouTube. The request was issued by the Telecommunications Communication Presidency on 3 June.

Yesterday, an Ankara Public Prosecutor added to the list by asking Ankara’s 1st Criminal Court of Peace to block access to 44 IP addresses related to YouTube and Google-related services. The Court complied, and users shortly began to report that services such as Picasa and Google Maps had become impossible to use. A number of other Google services are now reported to be malfunctioning.

Since early this morning the websites of the Ministry of Transportation, the Information and Communication Technologies Authority and the Telecommunications Communication Presidency have been inaccessible. These three state bodies are responsible for internet censorship and have been the principal actors behind attempts to block access to YouTube and Google-related services in Turkey.

A number of theories abound, with favourites the state authorities’ websites have either been hacked or subject to a serious denial of service attack by hackers unhappy at the censorship.

Writing for the CyberLaw UK Blog, Dr Yaman Akdeniz, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, Istanbul Bilgi University, now writes that it has been confirmed as a denial of service attack coordinated by a group of hackers to protest against internet censorship in Turkey, and that the attack lasted 10 hours.

We are at present unable to locate the original press release referenced by Dr Akdeniz. ®

BBC News: Cyber attacks against Australia ‘will continue’

Friday, February 12th, 2010

BBC News – Cyber attacks against Australia ‘will continue’

By Zoe Kleinman, Technology Reporter, BBC News
12 February 2010

An activist group that temporarily blocked access to key Australian government websites plans to continue its cyber attacks, the BBC has learned.

The group, known as Anonymous, was protesting against the Australian government’s proposals to apply filters to the internet in the country.

A man claiming to be a representative of the group said that around 500 people were involved in the attack.

The method they are using is known as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS).

DDoS is illegal in many countries including the United Kingdom. There is no indication that the attack was carried out from within Britain. DDoS attacks typically call on machines in many different nations, making them hard to trace.

The sites were intermittently blocked on 10 and 11 February. The action has been condemned by various bodies including the Systems Administrators Guild of Australia (SAGE-AU) and Electronic Frontiers Australia.

‘All it takes is a few people to basically send junk traffic to their websites which is causing them to be offline,’ the man, calling himself Coldblood, told BBC News.

‘The people who are currently attacking (the government websites) are planning to keep doing it. It will probably keep happening until either they get bored or it gets sorted out.’

The sites are currently back online but the domains of individual politicians, including that of Stephen Conroy (minister for broadband, communications and the digital economy), were among those targeted.

Web filters

Anonymous is protesting against Australia’s plan to apply a country-wide filter to block certain content in 2011.

In trials already carried out the technology behind the filter has proved to be 100% effective in preventing access to designated sites.

The banned sites would be selected by an independent classifications body guided by public complaints, Senator Conroy has said.

He said the aim of the filter is to make the internet a safer place for Australian children.

Speaking to the BBC, Coldblood said that the activists did not support the creation of illegal content but that banning it would not tackle the issue.

‘If something is illegal which is done on the internet the government should try and prosecute them,’ he said.

‘If they ban it it will just appear somewhere again. What they really need to do is go after the people who are making this content.’

The group consists of ‘a few thousand people’ based all over the world Coldblood said.

They staged cyber attacks on Iran following the election protests and have publicly protested against the Scientology movement.

This was sparked after the Church of Scientology requested the removal of a clip from YouTube featuring Hollywood actor Tom Cruise.

‘One of our main missions is against censorship on the internet,’ said Coldblood.

The group had not had any direct contact with the Australian government, he added.

SAGE-AU said the attack was ‘the wrong way to express disagreement with the proposed law.’

‘The impact of DOS attacks is frequently felt less by government agencies than by system administrators, many of them SAGE-AU members, who are responsible for managing websites and servers,’ continues a statement on its website.

YouTube in Australia

Senator Conroy has also contacted Google requesting that the company begins to filter YouTube content in the country.

Google says that while it complies with the laws of the individual countries in which it has a presence, it would only investigate and consider removing content after receiving a ‘valid legal request’ about something already posted on the site.

‘We first check that the request meets both the letter and spirit of the law, and we will seek to narrow it if the request is overly broad,’ said a spokesperson.

‘YouTube is a platform for free expression. We have clear policies about what is allowed and not allowed on the site.’

Iranian hackers ‘hijack’ Twitter

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Iranian hackers ‘hijack’ Twitter:

Popular online messaging service Twitter was left reeling overnight, after Iranian hackers appeared to break into the site and deface it.

The strike left the site completely unavailable for several hours in the early hours of Friday morning, with the site’s estimated 30m users unable to access the service or send messages to each other online.

The incident took place some time around 6am in the UK, when the main Twitter page suddenly seemed to disappear – instead replaced with a stark black and red screen featuring an image of a flag.

The page, which carried a mixture of English and Farsi slogans, appeared to name the group behind the attack and offer a call to arms.

‘This site has been hacked by the Iranian Cyber Army,’ said the message.

‘The USA thinks they control and manage internet access, but they don’t. We control and manage the internet with our power, so do not try to the incite Iranian people.’

The site returned to normal functions around two hours later, with staff telling users that it had suffered from ‘unplanned downtime’.

Although early reports suggested the site itself had been breached by attackers, it now seems that the strike was actually a crude form of assault known as a DNS hijack.

The DNS, or Domain Name System, is effectively a telephone directory of the internet – connecting the name of a website, such as or, to the web servers that hold its contents.

In hijacking cases, computer criminals effectively redirect the traffic intended for a particular website, sending users to a page of their own choice rather than the planned destination.

Around two and half hours after the outage occurred, Twitter staff issued a short statement on the company’s blog confirming the style of the attack it had suffered.

‘Twitter’s DNS records were temporarily compromised but have now been fixed,’ said the post. ‘We are looking into the underlying cause and will update with more information soon.’

It is not the first time that Twitter has found itself subject to attention due to its links with Iranian activists.

During the uprising that followed the elections in June this year, in which incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad eventually triumphed, the US state department urged the site to remain online to allow more information about the protests to spread online.

Little is known, however, about the group who appeared to claim responsibility for hacking Twitter. But the nature of the messages they left appears somewhat confusing.

Though the text left by the hackers appeared to be anti-American, they also used the image of a green flag – the colour connected to the election protesters, and to Mir-Hossein Mousavi, the main challenger to President Ahmadinejad.

(Via Latest news, sport, business, comment and reviews from the Guardian |

McKinnon loses judicial review

Friday, July 31st, 2009

McKinnon loses judicial review: “

High profile campaign suffers potentially fatal blow

Breaking news Gary McKinnon has lost a judicial review against his extradition to the United States on hacking charges.…

(Via The Register – Public Sector.)

Prime Minister’s health records breached in database attack

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Prime Minister’s health records breached in database attack: “

Scottish rich and powerful victimized

Personal medical records belonging to Scotland’s rich and powerful – including Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Holyrood’s First Minister Alex Salmond – have been illegally accessed in a breach of a national database that holds details of 2.5 million people.…

(Via The Register – Public Sector.)

Facebook users ‘at risk’ as hackers target site

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Facebook users ‘at risk’ as hackers target site: “Facebook users are at risk from malicious hackers targeting the site, online security experts warned.”

(Via Tech and Web from Times Online.)

Pirate Bay supporters ram Swedish IFPI website

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Pirate Bay supporters ram Swedish IFPI website: “

‘We’re winning, stop hacking plz’

Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde has pleaded with fans to stop attacking official entertainment industry websites after the Swedish wing of the The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s (IFPI) site was hacked yesterday.…

(Via The Register – Public Sector.)

Government sites hit by hackers – Times Online

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Government sites hit by hackers – Times Online

February 11, 2009

Times investigation reveals links to illegal content are being hidden in official websites
Murad Ahmed, Technology Reporter

Thousands of government, NHS, school and police websites have been doctored to include links to pornography, viruses and other inappropriate material.

An investigation by The Times and Trend Micro, the internet security specialists, has revealed that a large number of taxpayer-funded official websites has been hit by a practice known as ‘link spamming’.

This is when a hacker, or a member of the public, adds links to an official website, which then point visitors to other, inappropriate, material.

It means that an unsuspecting parent might click on an innocent-looking link on their child’s school site and be taken to a pornographic internet site instead, or a patient might click on an NHS website link only to download a harmful computer virus without their knowledge. Many government-created websites are potentially unsafe.