Anti-ISIS Hacking Group Claims Responsibility For BBC Attack - InformationWeek
Government // Cybersecurity
11:05 AM

Anti-ISIS Hacking Group Claims Responsibility For BBC Attack

New World Hacking, a US-based organization, is claiming responsibility for the New Year's Eve DDoS attack on the BBC, but claims ISIS was the real target.

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A US-based group of hackers calling itself New World Hacking has claimed responsibility for an attack on the British news service BBC's website on New Year's Eve, which shut down the site for around four hours.

The group sent a series of Twitter messages to the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones claiming that the attack was indeed carried out by their members as test to see the strength of its servers.

The BBC initially attributed the downing of the site to a technical issue, with visitors to a range of BBC websites and its iPlayer and iPlayer Radio services, but later called the issue a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

"We're aware of a technical issue affecting the BBC website and are working to fix this now," the BBC tweeted at the start of the outage. "We'll update you as soon as we can."

A DDoS attack is an attempt to make a website unavailable to its intended users, temporarily or indefinitely interrupting or suspending services by flooding it with traffic.

(Image: Anthony Brown/iStockphoto)

(Image: Anthony Brown/iStockphoto)

During the outage, visitors to the site were greeted with an internal error page that told users that either the site was experiencing abnormal traffic to the network or the service, or the servers the site was hosted on were not currently available.

New World Hacking described itself to the BBC as a US-based organization that is working to take down Islamic State (ISIS) affiliated websites, as well as ISIS members.

"It was only a test, we didn't exactly plan to take it down for multiple hours. Our servers are quite strong," the group said in a message to the BBC. "The reason we really targeted [the] BBC is because we wanted to see our actual server power. We realize sometimes what we do is not always the right choice, but without cyber hackers ... who is there to fight off online terrorists?"

A press representative from the BBC told British newspaper The Independent that it could not confirm the source of the attack, despite the claim of responsibility from New World Hacking.

One of the group's members spoke with the BBC under the nickname Ownz, telling the news organization New World Hacking consists of 12 members and has been involved with efforts to identify ISIS members involved in the Paris attacks in November, as well as a campaign against the KKK.

In an interview with BBC Breakfast, Joe Lynam, the BBC's business correspondent, said the company could not verify NWH's involvement but called it "quite a serious claim," according to a report in The Guardian.

[Read why Microsoft is now alerting users to state-sponsored hacks.]

"We have to stress we have no evidence, but this group is claiming responsibility for this DDoS attack and they claim their ultimate goal is to take down Isis websites," Lynam was reported as saying. "Their ultimate goal, believe it or not, is not to attack the BBC but to go for Isis, the group which often calls itself Islamic State, and all their servers so they cannot spread propaganda from various different websites."

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Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

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User Rank: Ninja
1/4/2016 | 5:44:42 PM
Just because you can do something...
So hackers took down a legitimate news network to test their servers in hopes of taking out ISIS propaganda sites. So why exactly was their test on the BBC? It makes little sense and if their goal is to limit hate propaganda starting with an actual news network doesn't make a lot of sense. It's impressive they can do it, but why do they think they should?
User Rank: Ninja
1/4/2016 | 10:33:06 AM
Re: Impressive
an Internal Error page that told users the site was experiencing abnormal traffic to the network or the service or servers the site was hosted on were not currently available.

--You also have to be impressed by this placid, unassuming message. I'm sure no one thought anything of it, just a normal Internet issue......
User Rank: Ninja
1/4/2016 | 10:29:09 AM
A solution
Maybe we should do what Trump suggests--shut down "their" (Isis) part of the Internet. So they can't communicate. ; )
User Rank: Ninja
1/4/2016 | 7:15:02 AM
If indeed this group is responsible, whether you agree with its attack or not, it is an impressive show of strength in its ability to leverage lots systems to request that much traffic from an organisation like the BBC that it downed its various services.

For some they were down for far longer than just a few hours too.
User Rank: Author
1/3/2016 | 11:14:56 AM
Re: cyber wars
I suppose they took on BBC out of a sense of balance. In April ISIS broke in to broadcast  'Je Suis IS' over the BBC's television channels.
User Rank: Ninja
1/2/2016 | 6:44:24 PM
cyber wars
How I see it we are living in the new age of cyber wars... sad reality...
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