Members of the hacktivist collective Anonymous have mounted a series of distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) to protest the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
A number of Twitter accounts announced the new OpAssange campaign on Monday, just after the UK Ministry of Justice's website went offline.
The ministry subsequently released a statement confirming it had been targeted and that it is taking measures to protect itself against future attacks.
"The Ministry of Justice website was the subject of an online attack last night at around 20:00 hours. This is a public information website and no sensitive data is held on it. No other Ministry of Justice systems have been affected," read the statement.
"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."
The campaign saw hacktivists target several other UK government websites including Number 10 Downing Street and the Home Office.
The attacks were reportedly done to protest the UK government's decision to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to Sweden. Assange is wanted by Swedish police for questioning over sexual assault claims.
The attack comes after confusion whether Anonymous still supported Wikileaks. Earlier in August the several accounts associated with the collective had a public war with Wikileaks regarding its stalled release of the Syria files.
"My sense is that the ‘idea' of WikiLeaks is still universally supported by Anonymous - but that all activist ‘operations' (both WikiLeaks and AnonOps) have been more difficult/fragmented post-Sabu," F-Secure analyst Sean Sullivan told V3.
"Actions require trust and that doesn't seem to have yet recovered from the FBI's sting."
The accusations against Assange emerged in 2010 when two female ex-Wikileaks volunteers claimed he had sexually assaulted them while in Stockholm giving a lecture.
The Wikileaks founder is currently taking refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London, having lost his appeal to block the extradition. The country has since confirmed its intention to grant Assange's asylum request.
The attack is the latest in a slew of Anonymous-led anti-extradition protests. Before the recent UK DDoS rampage, the collective had mounted attacks on several government websites in April to protest the extradition of Gary McKinnon.
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