The hacker group Anonymous, which counts the Vatican among its previous high-profile targets, has been linked to attacks on a British government website yesterday.
The website of Britain's Home Office, or interior ministry, (homeoffice.gov.uk) was down for several hours. People trying to access the sites between 9 pm on Saturday and mid-morning on Sunday received messages saying the pages were unavailable ''due to a high volume of traffic''. A spokeswoman for the ministry said the home office website was the subject of an online protest last night.
She added there was no indication that the site was hacked and other Home Office systems were not affected. She said, measures put in place to protect the website meant that members of the public were unable to access the site intermittently.
According to Twitter messages supposedly from Anonymous, the group was behind the distributed denial-of-service attack, where in hackers flood a website with requests for information, making it unavailable to legitimate users.
The messages warned of more attacks on British government websites every Saturday.
Twitter messages pointed to a number of reasons for the attack, including the government's plans to step up digital surveillance powers and Britain's extradition treaty with the US.