The hacker collective Anonymous is taking credit for a massive cyber-attack on the federal government that made multiple Canadian government websites go dark this afternoon (17 June) — apparently in protest against the Harper government’s controversial security legislation, C-51.
“A bill which is a clear violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as removing our legal protections enshrined in the Magna Carta for 800 years,” reads the script for an Anonymous video posted on YouTube. “Perhaps it was fate that the day the Magna Carta arrived in our country to go on display to the populace that our corrupt government was symbolically pissing upon it and us all.”
The video goes on to say that C-51 targets minorities and forces Canadians to trade privacy for security.
“Today, Anon’s risked their freedoms for you. We now ask that you follow suit. Stand for your rights, take to the streets and protest this 20th of June,” says the narrator.
“We will not allow our freedoms to be stripped one by one.”
Almost immediately after the hack, one twitter user who calls himself Blakeando10 and is pictured wearing a Guy Fawkes mask — an image commonly associated with hacking and the hacker collective Anonymous — took credit. His tweet — “It was your move Senators, now it’s ours … we’re just getting started”, uses the hashtags #RejectFear and #StopC51.
Treasury Board President Tony Clement tweeted just before the video was released, confirming that Government of Canada’s servers had been cyberattacked.
Canada.ca, Immigration services and other federal government websites are offline — in Canada and around the world — and are among what could be hundreds of government sites that went offline earlier this afternoon.
Calls to Shared Services, the department responsible for the maintenance of government websites, have been returned but only to say that a response was being drafted.
Liberal defence critic Joyce Murray said Wednesday’s cyber attack should be a wake-up call for the Canadian government. She said experts have warned MPs that Canada isn’t doing enough to protect against cyber attacks.
Since the first websites went dark this afternoon some of them have been coming back online — and then going back offline. The blackout comes just days after the House of Commons warned employees on Friday that they had been hit with a cyber-attack. The House of Commons later insisted that no data was stolen.