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Hackers affiliated with Anonymous have begun bombarding Egyptian government websites with junk traffic as part of a protest against net censorship that has accompanied recent civil unrest in the Arab country.

The DDoS attacks follow recent similarly motivated attacks against state websites in Tunisia and Zimbabwe. The latest attacks are targeting the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, leaving the site a little slow to load but still accessible as a result.

Protesters have taken to the streets in a series of protests against the Egyptian government. Police have resorted to using tear gas and rubber bullets to break up the demos, resulting in the deaths of four people. Further protests are planned, the BBC reports.

The Egyptian government has also blocked access to websites including Twitter. In an update, published on Wednesday night, Twitter said the block remains in place even though some users have found a way around the restrictions.

Egypt continues to block Twitter & has greatly diminished traffic. However, some users are using apps/proxies to successfully tweet.

Facebook says it's not noticed any change in the use of its service in Egypt, contradicting reports from web users on the ground. Surfers in Egypt have reported problems to the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, a group that has campaigned against net censorship for many years.

Any restriction on free speech on the internet is anathema to Anonymous, prompting it to launch "Operation Egypt" (screeenshot of manifesto in blog post by Sophos here) - though DDoS attacks might themselves be seen as a denial of free speech, if you're inclined to complicate matters.

Volunteers are invited to download the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) tool in order to take part in the attacks. If past experience is anything to go by, a number of participants are likely to be using networks of compromised machines to increase the potency of the junk traffic bombardment assaults.

All participants in the attacks risk the possibility of arrest, as a number of participants of previous attacks under the Anonymous banner in the Netherlands, Greece and the US know to their cost. ®

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