At least two US government websites were knocked off the web earlier today by Anonymous, claims the group's "official" Twitter account AnonymousIRC.
At time of writing, the US government's Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website was back online and functioning as normal. But two other US consumer sites - the National Consumer Protection Week website ncpw.gov and consumer.gov were offline.
A file posted on pastebin today claimed the hacks for Anonymous's #antisec campaign, and explained the motivation as being "revenge" for the consumer bodies' allegedly poor record on safeguarding consumer data and a blow against the trans-national Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
According to the AnonymousIRC Twitter account, the downed sites had been replaced with a violent German-language video satirising the ACTA signatories' attempt to clamp down on counterfeiting and copyright infringement on the internet through an international legal framework. The treaty was signed in October last year by the US, Australia and Canada among other countries. Several European countries, including Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, however, are stalling on the ratification of the treaty. The European Parliament will take a vote on the matter in June, after it has been scrutinised by the trade committee.
Echoing concerns from a senior German politician earlier this month, the members of hacking group wrote:
There is no doubt that ACTA is more dangerous and detrimental to our rights than SOPA. ACTA will further spread the contagion of stricter copyright enforcement worldwide, at the expense of our essential liberties and basic freedoms of speech, expression and privacy.
The FTC could not be reached for comment before business hours, but its Twitter account said:
BCP Biz Center & NCPW sites run by FTC hacked earlier today. FTC takes these malicious acts seriously.
Biz Center & NCPW sites taken down by FTC & will be brought back up when we’re satisfied that any vulnerability has been addressed.