Government websites targeted


The Department of Justice and Department of Finance websites were both taken offline for a short time in the early hours of this morning following an apparent attack by hackers.

Both websites were reportedly down for about an hour after being targeted with a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack.

In a statement released this morning the Department of Justice confirmed the website were attacked.

“This is not an attempt to extract information from the website but is instead an attempt to stop access to a service.

“There appears to be no damage done to the website,” the statement read.

The department said a review of the attack is being undertaken and the situation will be monitored continuously.

“The Government is aware of the potential threat of this type of cyber attack and the Department of Communications is coordinating a whole of Governement response to this threat,” the statement concluded.

A Twitter account called Anonymous Sweden claimed responsibility for the attack. It said in a tweet that the attack was carried out in protest against planned new copyright legislation in Ireland.

Later tweets from the @AnonOpsSweden account denied claims that it had also targed two other Government related websites - the Blue Blindfold anti-human trafficking site and the Freedom of Information site.

An online petition against the Government’s plan to allow music publishers and other parties take internet service providers to court in a bid to prevent their customers accessing ‘pirate’ material has received over 32,000 signatures since it went live yesterday.

Minister of State for Enterprise Seán Sherlock intends to publish an order this month which will effectively amend the State’s copyright legislation.

He argues that a High Court ruling in 2010 means the Government must take such a step in order to close a loophole in the law.

In that case, music publisher EMI sought an injunction against internet provider UPC, ordering it to block access to websites that allowed illegal downloading.

While the court found that EMI’s rights were breached, Mr Justice Peter Charleton pointed out that he could not grant the injunction as the Copyright Act did not provide for this remedy.

The judge said such a provision was needed to bring the Republic’s legislation into line with EU law.