Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may have had his official website attacked by the ‘hacktivist’ Anonymous group, local media reported Thursday.
According to Japan’s public NHK broadcaster, Abe’s official website has been inaccessible since early on Thursday, with the international group of clandestine hackers knows as Anonymous allegedly posting a message on Twitter claiming responsibility for the cyber attack on the site.
Abe’s top spokesperson, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, said the government had been informed about the possible breach to the prime minister’s site by Anonymous, but in a press conference earlier Thursday declined to comment specifically as to whether the attack had been carried out by Anonymous.
The possible attack by Anonymous is the latest in a series of cyber attacks on Japanese websites, including most recently last month on the website of Japan’s Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, which went down for three days after the group, according to its Twitter post, disabled the site by flooding it with enough data to crash its servers.
As with the latest case, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police have been on high alert, although the government is either unaware or is remaining tight-lipped about the motive for the recent attacks, according to sources close to the matter Thursday.
The group also took aim at Japan on Oct. 10 this year, when both Narita and Chubu airports in the east of the country, came under DDoS attacks with Anonymous saying on Twitter the attacks were a part of their campaign against Japan’s controversial dolphin hunting practice.
The town of Taiji in southeastern Japan where the drive hunts take place saw its official website also taken down earlier in the year with police concluding that the hactivist group was responsible.
The Japan National Tourism Organization and Japan’s Fishermen’s Union’s websites have also suffered DDoS attacks, for Japan’s continued dolphin hunts, it has been reported.
Prior to these, in 2012, the government was also subjected to a series of cyber attacks by Anonymous following the implementation of new ant-piracy laws by the government, which outline stiff fines and jail terms for those downloading copyrighted content.
The group highlight the fact that content suppliers were pressuring Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to implement surveillance technology in an unprecedented move that some felt impinged on privacy laws.
As a result, the Finance Ministry, Supreme Court, the then ruling Democratic Party of Japan and Liberal Democratic Party of Japan all saw their sites attacked at the time, some with specific pages defaced.