Hackers attack Government websites over proposed filter legislation
It is understood the attacks are coming from a group known as "Anonymous", which has become well known both on and offline for its militant attacks on Scientology. However, it has branched into other political battles.
It is the second time Anonymous has made a major attack on government web infrastructure, after a series of attacks targeting the website of the Australian Media and Communications Authority last year.
The Age has reported the Attorney-General's department confirmed the attacks this morning, with the Department of Defence Cyber Security Operations Centre investigating.
At the time of publication, KevinRudd.com.au is offline, while the official website of Parliament has also been taken down after suffering denial-of-service attacks.
It is also understood the website of Department of Communications was taken offline for some time this morning.
Denial-of-service attacks involve a hacker sending a flood of traffic to a popular site, which usually cannot handle the large amount of incoming data and crashes.
The attacks have reportedly come under the name "Operation: Titstorm", in reference to claims from the Australian sex industry that some pornographic films have been banned because they feature women with small breasts.
However, the Classification Board has hit back at the accusations, saying pornography would only be banned if participants "appeared" to be under age.
It is understood Anonymous sent an email to various organisations yesterday outlining today's attacks, which are scheduled to be followed up with emails, faxes and phone calls.
"No government should have the right to refuse its citizens access to information solely because they perceive it to be 'unwanted'," the e-mail stated. "The Australian Government will learn that one does not mess with our porn. No one messes with our access to perfectly legal (or illegal) content for any reason."
However, the attacks have been condemned by those in the industry. Nicholas Perkins of Stop Internet Censorship wrote in a statement that illegal action only makes legitimate political protest harder.
"Reports that attacks on Federal Government websites are being used to draw attention to the government's plan to introduce a mandatory internet filter are alarming, and any illegal action of this nature must be condemned."
"By attempting to bring down or deface government websites, a minority of internet users have brought negative attention to what is a very important issue for Australians. It would be much more helpful for these people to put their efforts behind legitimate action to stop this ineffective and inefficient attempt at censorship by the Australian Government."
The Systems Administrators Guild also spoke out against the attacks, saying they are not the method through which political battles are won.
"While SAGE-AU believes that imminent internet filtering legislation will fail to work, it has condemned DOS attacks as the wrong way to express disagreement with the proposed law."
"SAGE-AU points out that the impact of DOS attacks is frequently felt less by government agencies than by System Administrators, many of them SAGE-AU members, who are responsible for managing websites and servers."