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Oz government sites floored in firewall protests

Small earthquake in Canberra. Not many websites hurt

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Hackers reportedly knocked over the website of Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd for a few minutes on Wednesday in an apparent protest against government plans for compulsory internet content filtering.

The site of the Australian Communications and Media Authority also disappeared for about an hour Wednesday evening local time, The Australian reports. The website of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, the man behind the plan, also came under attack.

A website called the Inquisitor, which reportedly claimed responsibility for the attacks, compared the net filtering plans of the Australian government to those of China. It also predicted that applying censorware would be effective only in reducing net access speeds by as much as 70 per cent while leaving unsavory content still accessible.

Anonymous, the group involved in a long-running campaign against Scientology, has also placed the Australian government in its cross-hairs, as a manifesto against the controversial filtering plans at 09-09-2009.org explains. The group called for the Australian government to abandon its filtering plans and for the resignation of Stephen Conroy. "Failure to meet these demands will result in our full-fledged wrath. This is not something you want to happen," it warned.

A spokesman for the communications minister Senator Conroy described the protests as misguided, adding that the filter would only block illegal content such as "imagery of child sexual abuse, rape and bestiality".

Net security firm Arbor Networks said it had seen no evidence as yet of any DDoS campaign. A post-mortem on the attack by the Internet Storm Centre points towards a low-level hand-cranked effort.

"The attack seems to be mostly multiple web requests on the site which exhausts the threads on the web server causing it to respond with a 503 error," an Internet Storm Centre researcher notes. "Once left alone by a few of the attackers the site is again more than happy. As far as impact goes the net result seems to be zilch." ®

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