The hacking group known as Anonymous seems to be continuing its trend of hacking U.S. government websites on Fridays. It has claimed a new series of hacks against the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and consumer rights websites.
The loosely organized collection of cyber rebels said it attacked the FTC's consumer protection business center, consumer.gov, and the National Consumer Protection Week website. Both sites were replaced with a violent German-language video (see below) satirizing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA. As of this posting, both the sites appeared to be down.
ACTA was recently signed by several countries, but restrictions on online piracy have prompted a growing protest movement.
A call by the Associated Press to the Trade Commission rang unanswered before business hours Friday. An email seeking comment was not immediately returned.
Watch the satirical video about ACTA (Warning: Graphic Content):
International Business Times has more from Anonymous' statement on the attack:
"Even more bothersome than your complete lack of competence in maintaining your own f*****g websites and serving the citizens you are supposed to be protecting, is the US federal government's support of ACTA. You really want to empower copyright holders to demand that users who violate IP rights (with no legal process) have their Internet connections terminated? You really want to allow a country with an oppressive Internet censorship regime to demand under the treaty that an ISP in another country remove site content? Well, we have a critical warning for you, and we suggest you read the next few paragraphs very, very closely."
The statement continues:
"If ACTA is signed by all participating negotiating countries, you can rest assured that Antisec will bring a f*****g mega-uber-awesome war that rain torrential hellfire down on all enemies of free speech, privacy and internet freedom. We will systematically knock all evil corporations and governments off of our internet."
Anonymous has recently threatened to take down the whole of the Internet on March 31 in an effort called Operation Global Blackout. MSNBC reports that it calls for "supporters to download a denial-of-service launching tool, called "Ramp," which will flood the 13 root Domain Name Servers (DNS) of the Internet with more requests than they can process."
Should we be worried? According to Robert David Graham from Errata Security, no. He writes on his blog that the hackers could cause localized disruptions but the likelihood that they could take down all root servers is slim.
In the last few weeks, Anonymous has targeted other U.S. government websites, including the Department of Justice and the CIA. The hackers also were able to listen in and record a FBI conference call with British police.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.