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ICO blasted offline by DDoS cannon in Leveson protest

Anonymous-linked hacktivists shell site for days

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The UK's Information Commissioner's Office website has been blown offline by a distributed-denial-of-service attack that appears to be a hacktivist protest over the Leveson Inquiry.

The ICO spokesperson told The Register in an emailed statement that access to the site had been disrupted over the past few days by the DDoS assault.

"The website itself has not been damaged, but people are unable to access it," the spokesperson said, adding: "We provide a public-facing website which contains no sensitive information."

A group calling itself Anon Ateam took responsibility for the attack, tweeting:

Another Anonymous group UKAnonymous2012 also credited Anon Ateam on Twitter:

Anon Ateam claims on a Tumblr blog under the heading OpLeveson that the inquiry, set up to investigate press ethics in the wake the phone-hacking scandal, has become a farce and is stopping criminal proceedings from taking place.

"Instead of having a criminal court whereby investigations are conducted to unearth the scale of the crime, this show trial has been arranged so that there is no real investigation," the blog alleged. It also questioned the actions of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his boss, Prime Minister David Cameron.

The group links the ICO to the inquiry because it claims the watchdog lacks independence and "has repeatedly failed to protect the public's privacy from hacking or data protection breaches".

"80 per cent of data protection breaches in the UK are committed by the UK civil service and yet not properly investigated," the blog alleged.

The ICO said it was working to bring its website back online but did not comment on Anon Ateam's claims. There were also reports that the Leveson Inquiry's website fell offline yesterday, although at the time of publication the site was back to normal and serving content as per usual. ®

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