Hackers Attack UK Govt Sites Over Assange's Extradition

Prasun Sonwalkar/London
Hackers Attack UK Govt Sites Over Assange's Extradition
As a diplomatic impasse over the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange continues, a computer hacking group has attacked government websites in protest against Britain's handling of the issue.

Britain says nothing has changed in its commitment to extradite Assange to Sweden to face allegations of sexual offences.

Assange, who was granted diplomatic asylum by Ecuador last week, addressed his supporters on Sunday and continues to function from its embassy here.

Anonymous, the computer hacking group, is reported to have hacked into the websites of 10 Downing Street, Home Office and the Ministry of Justice yesterday.

However, the websites were working as normal today.

The Ministry of Justice said in a statement: "The Ministry of Justice website was the subject of an online attack last night at around 20:00 BST. This is a public information website and no sensitive data is held on it. No other Ministry of Justice systems have been affected".

It added: "Measures put in place to keep the website running mean that some visitors may be unable to access the site intermittently. We will continue to monitor the situation and will take measures accordingly."

According to the BBC, Anonymous, a loose collection of computer hackers, has gained notoriety by launching denial-of-service attacks, which flood websites with requests, causing them to operate more slowly or fail, on international government and corporate websites since 2010.

Meanwhile, speaking on state television, Ecuador president Rafael Correa has said that if Britain entered his country's embassy in London to arrest Assange, it would be "suicidal".

He said such a course of action would be "suicide for Great Britain because then people could enter their diplomatic premises all around the world and they wouldn't be able to say a thing".
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