The websites of the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and Home Secretary Theresa May have been taken down as part of a distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) campaign.

According to Techweek Europe, the attacks were carried out by an Anonymous splinter group named‘ATeam' who were protesting against the proposed extradition of Gary McKinnon and Richard O'Dwyer to the US.

May's website went down from around 9pm on Sunday for around 13 hours; the website of the Supreme Court was also pushed offline, with the ICO site still down at the time of writing.

A spokesman for May told Techweek Europe that she "treats threats of disruption to her website very seriously".

The ICO has confirmed that it is looking into the matter with the provider of its web hosting. In a statement, it said: “Access to the ICO website has been disrupted over the past few days. We believe this is due to a distributed-denial-of-service attack.

“The website itself has not been damaged, but people have been unable to access it. We provide a public-facing website which contains no sensitive information.

“We regret this disruption to our service and we are working to try to bring the website back online as soon as possible.”

André Stewart, president international at Corero Network Security, said: “The takedown of the ICO website by an apparent DDoS attack is, once again, evidence that government organisations need to be better prepared for the growing threat from cyber crime carried out by politically or ideologically motivated hacktivists. 

“Virtually every week we are seeing DDoS attacks being launched. Organisations of all types need to start planning accordingly in terms of putting the right technology and protocols in place to protect themselves and their constituents and customers against these forms of attack, before a more serious data breach occurs.”