CIA website taken down by DDoS attack

The hacking group LulzSec has hit the US government for the second time in a week, taking down the website of the CIA.

A spokesperson told Reuters that its website was taken down, but that the group were prevented from accessing any sensitive data. According to the news agency, this attack was similar to the attack on the Senate in that hackers broke into the public site and downloaded information.

Martina Bradford, deputy Senate sergeant-at-arms, said: “They're getting nothing but the attacks continue. We've been able to stay ahead of the hackers and keep them out of the main Senate network."

LulzSec initially said that 'Tango down - cia.gov - for the lulz' on Twitter, by way of claiming responsibility.

At the time of writing, the CIA website remains down and LulzSec has not issued a statement. On its Twitter feed it said: “The CIA anti-lizards will probably rise from the packet sea while we rest our shining-yet-saturated power field arrays.”

However LulzSec may feel the wrath of pro-US hacker The Jester, who said on Twitter: “Re: your last hit. Gloves off. Expect me. My silence is not an indication of weakness, as your mouth is an indication of yours.”

He later followed this with another tweet: “No comforting words from this point on. My silence previous, and forthcoming, is the anti-you.”

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said that the website had been hit by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

He said: “Fortunately, the likelihood is that the attack against the CIA's website has not resulted in any sensitive information being stolen, but that's not to say that the attack is harmless. The CIA website is a primary method through which the agency communicates with the rest of the world and it's not going to take kindly to being forced offline by hackers.

“With this new attack against the CIA website, you have to ask yourself if LulzSec has finally bitten off more than it can chew. After all, they've just poked a very grizzly bear with a pointy stick. LulzSec's cockiness may be their undoing.”

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