Formula One website targeted by Anonymous in Bahrain GP protest
Published Apr 20 2012, 17:30 BST | By Andrew Laughlin
The Anonymous hacking group appears to have taken down the Formula One official website in protest at the controversial hosting of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The hacktivists are understood to have hit www.formula1.com
with a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, temporarily making it unavailable. The site is currently loading, but just displaying a black screen.
The attack comes before the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend, which is scheduled to go ahead despite violent unrest and protests in the country.
Under the banner of "#OpBahrain", Anonymous hackers defaced the F1 website, and posted a press release detailing a number of objections to the Grand Prix going ahead.
The hacking group claimed that the people of Bahrain have struggled under the oppressive regime of King Hamad bin Al Khalifa, including alleged murder, torture and detention.
"Still the regime persists to deny any meaningful reform and continues to use brutal and violent tactics to oppress the popular calls for reformation. Not only is the Human Rights situation in Bahrain tragic, it becomes more drastic with each passing day," said the Anonymous statement.
"For these reasons the F1 Grand Prix in Bahrain should be strongly opposed. The Al Khalifa regime stands to profit heavily off the race and has promised to use live ammunition against protestors in preparation.
"They have already begun issuing collective punishment to entire villages for protests and have promised further retribution 'to keep order' for the F1 events in Bahrain.
"The Formula 1 racing authority was well-aware of the Human Rights situation in Bahrain and still chose to contribute to the regime's oppression of civilians and will be punished."
Anonymous has used DDoS attacks on several previous occasions to protest against the actions of authorities, such as hacks on sites including the US Department of Justice and the Motion Picture Association of America following the closure of file-sharing site Megaupload
Internet security expert Graham Cluley said that this latest attack is unlikely to change the position of the F1 bosses, but it could make more people aware of the controversy.
"Attacks against websites are hardly likely to change the minds of the Grand Prix organisers, but there's no doubt that these actions do make even more people aware of the controversy surrounding the race this weekend," he said in a post on the Naked Security blog
"DDoS attacks are one of the favourite weapons in Anonymous's armoury. Just earlier this month, Anonymous supporters successfully launched DDoS attacks against websites belonging to the British Home Office and 10 Downing Street.
"Internet users are reminded that denial-of-service attacks are illegal. If you participate in such an attack you could find yourself receiving a lengthy jail sentence."> Sky, the BBC urged to boycott Bahrain Grand Prix