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DUP website translated into Irish by mischievous hacktivist

Aon ghéilleadh (no surrender)

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A mischievous hacktivist broke into three websites run by the Democratic Unionist Party on Wednesday night to replace the website of the staunchly unionist Ulster party with an Irish language version.

Party leader Peter Robinson's welcome message to the site was translated into Irish and appended to include support of the "Irish Language Act", the BBC reports.

In reality, the DUP has repeatedly blocked the introduction of the proposed law, which is backed by nationalist majority party Sinn Fein.

The hacker, who rejoices in the Joycean moniker of Hector O'Hackatdawn @HectorOHackAtD), also defaced the websites of party bigwigs peterrobinson.org and jeffreydonaldson.org.

The DUP acknowledged, via Twitter, that its website had been "temporarily affected by malicious activity", adding that it had reported the matter to police. Its website (http://www.dup.org.uk) was restored to its regular English-only version by Thursday morning.

Hector responded to criticism of his hacking wheeze via Twitter. "Some people aren't happy with my hack. That's fine – We're not happy with your inability to enact an Irish language act. What now?"

The DUP, founded by Ian Paisley, is northern Ireland's single largest political party, holding eight seats at Westminster and 36 seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly. The devolved government in Northern Ireland is run through a power-sharing agreement between the DUP and Sinn Fein.

The hack on DUP websites follows a cyber-assault against a Fine Gael website election campaign website earlier this week. The website hack resulted in the exposure of personal details (IP addresses, phone numbers and email addresses) of 2,000 party supporters.

The list was sent to media organisations by the perpetrator, who claimed to be a member of Anonymous and said that the hack was a reprisal against the censorship of content on the site. The finegael2011.com home page was defaced to display a message – supposedly from Anonymous – explaining the motives behind the assault, as reproduced in a story by The Journal about the attack here.

However, other members of Anonymous were quick to disassociate themselves from the attack, whose motives are an awkward fit with recent campaigns by Anonymous against organisations seen as giving either WikiLeaks or file sharing sites a hard time. At a launch a week before the attack, Fine Gael claimed its hacked election campaign website was secure, Irish security consultant Brian Honan notes.

The compromised finegael2011.com website was hosted in the US, so the hack has been reported the US authorities, the BBC reports. ®

Bootnote

A hat-tip to Brian Honan for the Irish language translation help.

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