THE DEPARTMENT OF Justice has said that a ‘whole government response’ is underway following an attack on government websites which forced them to be taken down overnight.
In a statement this morning, the Department of Justice said it experienced a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack which is an attempt to stop access to a website by diverting a huge amount of traffic towards it as opposed to a hacking where information is taken.
The websites of it and the Department of Finance were taken offline late last night and early this morning after Twitter accounts affiliated to the Anonymous ‘hacktivist’ movement urged members to target the website.
Both websites are back online this morning.
A spokesperson for the Department of Finance confirmed it had been the subject of an unusually high volume of traffic last night but said there have been similar incidents in the past around Budget day.
The Department of Justice said in a statement:
Last night the Department of Justice website experienced a Distributed Denial of Service attack. This is not an attempt to extract information from a website but is instead an attempt to stop access to a service. There seems to be no damage done to the website. However, a review is being conducted this morning.
The situation continues to be monitored by the Department of Justice and the Department of Communications. The government is aware of the potential threat of this type of cyber attack and the Department of Communications is co-ordinating a whole of government response to this threat.
Other minor government websites including that of the Freedom of Information Unit and the human trafficking website ‘Blue Blindfold’ were targeted although Anonymous later said those attacks had not been deliberate.
The attacks came amid controversy over the government’s proposed reforms of Ireland’s copyright laws which are due to be published in the coming days.
The government has insisted that the upcoming legislation is not intended to restrict internet freedom but thousands have signed a petition urging the legislation to be stopped fearing it will do just that.