The website of MI5, Britain’s domestic spy service, was briefly taken down by a DDoS attack
The website of Britain’s domestic intelligence agency MI5 was briefly knocked offline by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on Friday, according to Reuters, citing a BBC report. The culprits are not named, and it is not clear if they have been identified.
This is not the first time that the UK’s security services infrastructure has been compromised. In 2009, a group called Team Elite reportedly infiltrated MI5’s website to log visitors’ identities and scrape years of their browsing history. Although the vulnerability was quickly patched, London was dismayed at the idea that “potentially highly classified information” such as the names of undercover agents and informants embedded in criminal groups could have been available to unknowing civilians.
MI5’s website was also reportedly taken offline in 2012 by hacker group Anonymous as part of an online protest against the British government’s treatment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
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At the time, the publisher had been living in London’s Ecuadorian embassy for just a few months, having sought political asylum there to avoid being extradited to Sweden to face charges of sexual abuse that have since been dropped.
MI5 also engages in mass web surveillance and allegedly collaborated with the CIA to hack into “smart” TVs and use them to eavesdrop on their owners even when they appear to be switched off, under a covert program called Weeping Angel that was revealed in 2017 WikiLeaks Vault 7 data dump.