Hackers attack Australian spy agency website

Anonymous has been involved in some of the most high-profile cyberattacks on the Web. (File)

Story highlights

  • The intelligence agency says its public website doesn't host classified information
  • It says there may have been some "technical issues" with the site
  • Hackers claiming links to Anonymous say they were attacking the site
  • They appear to be motivated by proposals to store Internet users' web histories

Australia's national intelligence agency acknowledged Friday that its public website may have encountered problems after hackers said they had subjected it to a sustained campaign of cyber attacks.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organization "is aware that there may have been some technical issues with its public website," a spokesman for the organization said.

But the site "does not host any classified information and any disruption would not represent a risk to ASIO's business," the spokesman added, using the agency's abbreviated name.

The hackers, who appeared to have links to the loose collective Anonymous, said they had been launching attacks on the ASIO site and those of other Australian government agencies over the past few days, according to Twitter accounts under the names Anonymous Australia and OperationAustralia.

The ASIO site "has been down for some time now, And will be for the rest of the day!" OperationAustralia tweeted Friday morning, Sydney time. The site appeared to be functioning normally about seven hours later.

    Just Watched

    MYB: Writer details personal hack attack

MYB: Writer details personal hack attack 02:08
PLAY VIDEO

    Just Watched

    University hacks drone for D.O.D

University hacks drone for D.O.D 02:52
PLAY VIDEO

The OperationAustralia account, which uses the Twitter handle @Op_Australia and has about 400 followers, suggested the attacks were motivated by controversial proposals by the Australian authorities to have Internet users' web histories stored.

In recent years, Anonymous has been involved in some of the most high-profile cyberattacks on the Web -- hobbling the websites of governments and businesses, hacking into sites to reveal private data and, along the way, getting dubbed cyberterrorists by the authorities in the United States and elsewhere.

    The network's motto is "We are Legion," and it describes itself as "a decentralized network of individuals focused on promoting access to information, free speech, and transparency."

        CNN recommends

      • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

        As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
      • Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
      • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

        Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
      • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

        It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.