Denial of service attack interrupts provincial website and email

Ten-minute loss of service comes as Anonymous becomes involved in Rehtaeh Parsons story.

A denial of service attack took down the provincial website for about 10 minutes this morning, confirms Brian Taylor, a spokesperson for the Chief Information Office, which oversees all IT operations for the province. Starting at about 9:50am, all provincial websites were inaccessible, and the provincial email system was down as well.

click to enlarge Is Anonymous attacking the province's computers?
Is Anonymous attacking the province's computers?
A denial of service attack typically involves sending millions of electronic requests to an organization's websites and servers, and thereby squeezing out legitimate internet activity, bringing the system to a standstill.

Taylor says that besides today's DoS attack there have been a series of "online intrusions"—attempts to access password protected parts of the province's websites—over the past two days. "Staff was alerted and put measures into effect to protect the site," says Taylor, noting that "there have been temporary delays" related to responding to the intrusions.

Taylor declined to say which portions of the site were attempted to being accessed.

The province's internet provider is Eastlink, which has been working to increase protection for the site.

Neither Eastlink nor the Chief Information Office can identify the source of the attacks, but the attacks began Tuesday, just as the Rehtaeh Parsons story was becoming international news.

The online activist group Anonymous, which has been actively monitoring the Parsons story, was also involved in the Steubenville, Ohio rape case. In that case, Anonymous was able to find videos and other material archived on private web sites. And previously, Anonymous has been credited with successful DoS attacks on such organizations as Visa, PayPal and MIT.

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