Pro-Wikileaks hacktivists bring down Fine Gael website
The Fine Gael website was hacked this evening by the group of activists responsible for the pro-Wikileaks attacks on Visa and Mastercard in 2010. The bona fide Fine Gael website finegael2011.com loads momentarily before being replaced by an image (see below) containing a logo with the title 'ANONYMOUS'. Beneath the logo appears the text:
"Nothing is safe, you put your faith in this political party and they take no measures to protect you. They offer you free speech yet they censor your voice. WAKE UP! <owned by Raepsauce and Palladium>"
The filename that replaces the homepage is named "The trouble with politicians is they lie.html".
The attack on Fine Gael's website appears to be politically motivated. The logo supplanted on the Fine Gael site matches those used in the pro-Wikileaks attacks by the community of hacktivists named Anonymous in 2010. Anonymous mounted cyber-attacks on companies which withdrew support from Wikileaks following the release of classified US Military files. In a campaign in support of free speech, Anonymous activists attacked the websites of Visa, Mastercard and the news aggregator Gawker. According to Wikipedia, Anonymous comprises members of the popular image websites 4chan and Futaba.
Cyber-attacks are carried out in a number of ways. The Anonymous attacks on companies used scripts which continually access a website, chewing up the resources of a website and blocking other visitors to the website from using it. Other hacks occur when a vulnerability in a website's security allows access to the website files or database. Most hacks are conducted either to test malicious software which can be used in corporate attacks. Fine Gael's website was compromised by inserting an HTML file as the homepage.
Politico.ie was hacked in December 2010 when a virus sitting on a website administrator's PC gained access to the site as image files were uploaded. The virus re-routed Politico to a rogue site. The problem was resolved quickly by restoring the site and applying antivirus checks to contributor PCs.
Earlier this week, the Fine Gael site recorded high traffic when a message was posted by leader Enda Kenny. In a news interview, Enda Kenny boasted that the website recorded 25,000 visitors in one day. Most of the visitors however were likely prompted less by Enda Kenny's message than by a strange hair style sported by the party leader which made front page news during the week.
Fine Gael responded quickly to tonight's attack and in the course of writing this article the website landing page changed to the following image (indicating a reload of the website files).