Digital Transformation

ICO attacked by ‘hacktivist’ group

Members of the group Anonymous claim to have disrupted the ICO’s website

The website for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) reportedly came under a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Tuesday, May 15th, as online ‘hacktivists’ attempted to block people from accessing the site.

In what appears to be an assault in protest against the handling of the Leveson inquiry and supposed ‘corruption’ in the case, a group that refers to themselves as the Anon Ateam claimed responsibility for the attack on its Tumblr page.

"Anonymous refuses to sit by and watch this inquiry allow members of this government to commit serious crimes and for that injustice to go unpunished," the group posted on its blog.

While the ICO’s site contains no information that could compromise people’s personal data, the attack on the department that is designed to keep a check on the security of the population’s information reflects how the internet can leave any organisation vulnerable.

In a statement, the ICO said: "The website itself has not been damaged, but people have been unable to access it. We provide a public facing website which contains no sensitive information."

As the web leaves all users exposed to the threat of hackers – whether it’s government departments, businesses or families – having the necessary security measures in place is integral to protecting against all forms of cybercrime.

With potentially damaging connotations for any breach of people’s records or files, businesses in particular are required to have implemented an adequate system that can properly protect the information they store regarding customers and transactions.

Indeed, as backing up files online grows in popularity with the rise of cloud technology, data protection programs will become increasingly important to catering for business continuity and the safety of sensitive records.

Despite there apparently being no especially damaging results of the Anon Ateam’s attack, the assault itself highlights the risks involved with using the web and the need for effective security measures when doing so.