We haven't heard much from Anonymous stateside of late, but hacker activists operating under the banner in Australia took down some of that country's official websites on Friday, showing the now-familiar technique of disabling high-profile sites still grabs attention. The group is claiming victory, too, as the Australian government put on hold legislation that would retain people's telephone and internet data for two years and give intelligence agencies more access to Facebook and Twitter. Attorney General Nicola Roxon naturally didn't cite the Anonymous attack in her decision to delay a vote on the legislation, but it's still what Anonymous says via Twitter that it "won the first battle."
Hactivists, under the banner Operation Australia, disabled the website for the country's spy agency, the Australian Security Intelligence Organization through a denial of service attack, in which a team overloads a site's servers with too much traffic. They also claimed to have taken down the South Australian Labor Party site and a site for the attorney general, though all are back online now. Unlike the high-profile hacks into Sony, HB Gary and Stratfor, the denial of service attacks don't release information. In fact, they're not technically even hacks. Rather, they knock a site offline for a while just to make a statement, as with Anonymous's Operation Payback that took down PayPal for blocking donations to Wikileaks. That attack cost PayPal money because people couldn't use it, but the only thing disabling the ASIO does is show it's possible. It's the online version of occupying the lobby, and it still works.