Anonymous hacktivists took aim at the websites of the UK Justice Department, the Department of Work and Pensions, the Home Office and even the Prime Minister's own Number 10 site. All of them were successfully targeted overnight and went down for a period of time.
The attacks were part of the Anonymous response to the UK government's handling of the Julian Assange extradition situation. WikiLeaks founder Assange has been granted political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and police have gathered to arrest him should he leave the building. The UK government has threatened to enter the embassy, under a relatively obscure piece of legislation that allows them to withdraw diplomatic status from a building, and take Assange by force.
This is not the first time that homeoffice.gov.uk, justice.gov.uk and number10.gov.uk have been hit by an Anonymous DDoS attack. All three sites were taken down earlier in the year during #OpTrialAtHome in protest at what Anonymous referred to at the time as the UK's 'Draconian surveillance proposals' and, interestingly, also the extradition cases of Gary McKinnon and Richard O'Dwyer.
All of the government websites are back up and running this morning, but to be hit twice in the space of six months by such a DDoS attack is embarrassing to say the least for the powers that be.