70 government websites were affected by recent attacks amid threat from Anonymous

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Anonymous, an international network of “hacktavists”, declared war on the Hong Kong Government and the Chinese Government earlier this month. The group claimed in the press release they would use all of their available resources to fight the injustices until peaceful negotiations between the protesters and the government officials resumed. Gregory So, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, addressed the attacks by hackers in LegCo meetings yesterday. He revealed that about 70 governmental websites have been attacked since the Umbrella Movement started.

In yesterday’s meeting, members asked Gregory So about the threat posted by Anonymous. So responded, “for the websites that have been attacked, as far as the Government is concerned, there were about 70 of them.” However, he refused to give the list of affected website to the members, claiming, “I am afraid this is not appropriate for security reasons.” He mentioned the majority of attacks received were distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, where websites are continuously congested with traffic until their servers overload. He said, “we received a relatively fierce level of such attacks during this period of time, but no government website has been defaced, and no data has been stolen from the websites.” In another document submitted by Gregory So, it was acknowledged that the Government is aware that the hacker group had recently attempted to attack some Government websites, making these websites slow in operation by significantly increasing their traffic. He explains OGCIO worked with relevant departments to take appropriate measures to block the intrusion and get the websites back to normal operations. Nonetheless, IT specialist Gareth Hayes challenges So’s claim, “Databases from 16 mainland government sites have been compromised so far, meaning that government email accounts and other information may be compromised, there’s a lot of information to go through to see how damaging this really is.”

Gregory So mentioned in the meeting that certain NGOs and private companies have also been subject to the attacks. However, Anonymous has denied targeting NGOs or private companies in a message to Harbour Times, “we cannot stop loopy individuals or totalitarian government bent on censorship and disinformation to act under our banner. But Anonymous hacktivists share a common set of values which makes the handy work (sic) of the collective fairly obvious.”The hacker group reiterated they will not idly by when the violence against the protesters is happening. They will continue to launch attacks on government infrastructure and leak information until peaceful negotiations resume until peaceful negotiations started. HT is not sure if the group considers the dialogue on Tuesday as reason to stand down. HT checked the websites targeted by the group listed as “Hong Kong Targets” and “Top Targets” (in a post‎ published on Oct 19th) this morning, the websites are working normally.