UK government websites attacked by Anonymous over Assange

The website of the U.K. Ministry of Justice has been hit the hardest

The U.K. Ministry of Justice has experienced problems with the availability of its website following a denial-of-service attack by Anonymous, which is demanding freedom for WikiLeak's founder Julian Assange who was last week granted asylum by Ecuador.

The hacker group said via its Twitter feed on Monday that it had taken down the Justice Ministry website as part of its 'Operation Free Assange'. The British police have stated that they will arrest Assange if he comes out of the Ecuador embassy in London, where he has taken refuge since June, to extradite him to Sweden where he is wanted for investigations into alleged sexual misconduct.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed on Tuesday that it is having problems with the availability of its website, and doesn't have a time frame for when it will be resolved. Measures put in place to keep the website running mean that some visitors may be intermittently unable to access the site , according to a statement.

Other government sites, including the Department for Work and Pensions, the Home Office and the Prime Minister's site, have also been targeted, according to Anonymous' Twitter feed. But it doesn't seem like they have been as hard hit.

Questions about their availability weren't immediately answered on Tuesday morning U.K. time. But the three websites were more responsive.

Ecuador said it gave Assange political asylum because it fears he will be prosecuted, and extradited from Sweden to the U.S. on charges related to the information WikiLeaks has published.

Two of WikiLeaks' most widely reported leaks involved U.S. diplomatic cables ("Cablegate") and a video from a U.S. helicopter gunship in Iraq (the so-called "Collateral Murder" video). A U.S. Army private, Bradley Manning, is charged with leaking the documents and is being held pending a military trial.

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