The website of MI5, Britain’s domestic spy service, was briefly taken down by a DDoS attack
FILE PHOTO © Getty Images / Remrat Kaewpukdee
The website of UK 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 were not named, and it is not clear if they have been identified.
It is not the first time Britain’s security service infrastructure has been compromised. In 2009, a group called Team Elite reportedly infiltrated MI5’s website to log visitors’ identity and scrape years of their browsing history. While the vulnerability was quickly fixed, London was appalled at the idea that “potentially highly-classified information” like the names of secret agents and informers embedded in criminal groups might have been available to unknown civilians.
MI5’s website was also allegedly taken offline in 2012 by hacking group Anonymous as part of an online protest against the UK 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 sexual assault charges that have since been dropped.
MI5 also engages in mass web surveillance and allegedly collaborated with the CIA to hack into “smart” TVs, using them to eavesdrop on their owners even when they appear to be switched off, under a classified program called Weeping Angel that was revealed in the 2017 WikiLeaks Vault 7 data dump.