Irish government passwords were accessed and published last night as Anonymous retaliated to the passing of a copyright law.
According to The Journal, a Twitter account used by the Swedish arm of Anonymous posted the passwords and email addresses of government users; it said the attack had been motivated by the government's plans to introduce new legislation reinforcing the rights of copyright holders in the sharing of online materials, similar to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the US.
The data posted included passwords for 17 user accounts belonging to the Department of Foreign Affairs and used for administration of the website for Irish Aid, its overseas development programme. The other hacked accounts appeared to belong to staff at Arekibo, a digital media company credited as having designed the site.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said: “We are aware of website user login information being posted online. The website server has been taken offline as a precautionary measure and the matter is being investigated by our IT specialists.
“This is an external service and is separate to the internal department servers; these have not been affected.”
Ireland was previously targeted by the movement over the same legislation, with distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks launched on the Irish Department of Justice and Department of Finance that took the sites offline for a short time. An online petition against the legislation has attracted just under 80,000 signatures since it was launched at the end of January.