A group of computer hackers has claimed responsibility for a cyber attack on the BBC. "New World Hacking" said it had intended the hack to be as a test of its own capabilities, preparing to target IS next week.
Cyber attackers belonging to "New World Hacking" claimed it was behind a major disruption at the BBC for several hours on New Year's Eve. The BBC's online services, including its news website and iPlayer online TV platform, were taken down two days ago in a large web attack, which the group said was part of a test.
"New World Hacking" maintained the exercise was in part of its preparations to target the self-styled "Islamic State" group (IS).
"It was only a test, we didn't exactly plan to take it down for multiple hours," the group said in a message sent to the BBC's technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones, which he posted on Twitter.
"We realise sometimes what we do is not always the right choice, but without cyber hackers... who is there to fight off online terrorists?"
BBC explains mechanism of attack
The broadcaster, citing sources inside the corporation, described a "distributed denial of service (DDoS)" attack. A DDoS attack typically targets sites by overwhelming its servers with a massive amount of fake messages from multiple sources so they become unable to respond to regular traffic, causing the entire system to crash.
The BBC also reported that one of the group's members had told the broadcaster that "New World Hacking" consisted of 12 people who were based in the United States. The group alleged that it had previously taken down websites belonging to the Ku Klux Klan and child pornographers. According to the source that spoke to the BBC the groups was planning to ramp up its campaign against IS next week.
The BBC apologized for the outage, calling it a "technical issue" at the time, but said that it would not comment on the claim of responsibility made by "New World Hacking."
ss/rc (Reuters, AP, dpa)