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Australian state’s human rights commission website hit by hacktivists

Anonymous hacktivists deface Victoria Human Rights Commission website with message in support of AnonPlus social networking service

This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download: CW ANZ: CW ANZ: Take cover from cyber threats

Hackers claiming to be part of the hacktivist collective Anonymous have defaced the website of the human rights commission in the Australian state of Victoria.

The website was hijacked to display a message in support of AnonPlus, a social networking service set up by Anonymous, underlining the need for organisations to harden their websites against hacktivist attacks.

Initial reports said it is unclear why the Victoria Human Rights Commission was targeted, but the hackers said only the home page was affected, that AnonPlus was not criminal and that no data was stolen or deleted, according to The Guardian.

The Victoria Human Rights Commission said it was aware of the breach and was working on the issue, but confirmed that no personal data was affected and that no demands had been made by the hackers.

“Our website is currently down and we’re working to fix it. Apologies in the meantime for any inconvenience caused,” the commission tweeted.

Before the website was temporarily taken offline, the home page displayed a message that said: “AnonPlus spreads ideas without censorship, creates spaces to spread directly through mass defacement, publish news that the media filtered and managed for the consumption of who controls, we do that to restore dignity to the function of the media: media should be free, without censorship and must limit itself to ‘show what’s happening’ and don’t ‘say to us what’s wrong and what’s right’.”

The message also said: “AnonPlus puts offline sites that actively contribute to the control of the masses from the corrupt, that by manipulating information and opinions create false realities: this is censorship!

“AnonPlus [does] not act for personal or political causes, has no leaders, moves to the interests of the people and we will fight until the leadership and the powership will lead into the hand of people: unique owner of the free world.”

The message included a link to the AnonPlus Twitter account, but The Guardian said the group had not responded to requests for comment.

Read more about hacktivism

The Fine Line: 2016 Security Predictions report by security firm Trend Micro forecast continued growth in hacktivism.

Hacktivists will be driven to expose even more incriminating information, impacting targets and facilitating secondary infections, the report said.

Trend Micro’s researchers also forecast that hacktivists will escalate attack methods to destroy targets systematically with high-profile data breaches.

On 1 January 2017, Anonymous released a video message that describes 2016 as a “year of awakening” in which “once secret data was leaked” leading to “citizens of the world” standing together.

The message said: “2016 armed the general population with knowledge – knowledge that, if used correctly, could truly change the world for the better.”

Describing 2017 as a “new chapter in human history”, the message said it will be the year of “planetary revolution” and that the time has come to “restore the balance of power”.

The message continues to say “peaceful revolution is still possible” and calls on people to make their voices heard and let the “powers that be” know that privacy, liberty and general human rights do matter.

“We have 12 months to change the world for the better, so let’s make every moment count,” the message concludes. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Read more on Hackers and cybercrime prevention

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