Greater Manchester Police Website Suffers DoS Attack

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Police website knocked offline for several hours following denial-of-service attack

One of the UK’s leading police websites was taken knocked offline for several hours last night after suffering a major denial-of-service attack.

The site of the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) was hit by the DoS attack, whereby a attacker floods the target with large amount of traffic, on Wednesday, with the culprit apparently later taking to Twitter to take responsibility.

Under attack

DDoS“Greater Manchester Police can confirm that the Force website became unavailable at approximately 8pm last night,” the GMP said in a statement.

“Initial checks did not reveal anything untoward and the system was quickly brought back online,” it added. “However, a short time later the website became unavailable again and an individual on Twitter has since claimed responsibility for causing the website to crash.”

“We are treating this as a denial of service attack, which is a malicious attempt to disrupt services,” said Deputy Chief Constable Ian Hopkins. “I want to reassure people that the server for the website is not connected to any other Force system and that the information contained on the website is all public information.”

“We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused to members of the public and we are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible,” said Hopkins.

Greater Manchester Police told TechWeekEurope that there were “no further updates” at this time regarding the person who claimed responsibility on Twitter for the attack.

Social Criminals

That said, criminals who take to social media to boast about their crimes do tend to end up behind bars.

Paul Chambers, who used to Twitter to ‘threaten’ to blow up Robin Hood airport in south Yorkshire, spent years trying to clear his name and escape criminal charges.

Another case saw an escaped criminal, Craig “Lazie” Lynch, take to Facebook in 2009 to taunt police after he absconded from the 330-inmate Hollesley Bay open prison near Woodbridge, Suffolk.

craidlynch01Lynch used Facebook to taunt the British police over their inability to catch him. He boasted of living the high life by eating steaks and posted pictures of himself in various situations, typically making a one finger salute to the camera. This included a picture of him wearing tinsel and cooking a Christmas turkey while swearing at the camera.

But the long-arm of the law eventually caught him and Lynch was returned to prison, where he remains, although he still reportedly uses Facebook regularly.

Other prisoners have also used smuggled mobile phones to boast on Facebook about their cushy lifestyle behind bars. In 2010, prisoner Brendan Rawsthorn, from Blackburn, Lancashire, boasted of playing computer games, drinking beer and putting his ”feet up” all day.

The use of smuggled mobile phones is well known problem for the authorities. In 2009, it emerged that a total of 8,099 mobile phones or SIM cards had been confiscated in prisons in England and Wales in 2008, compared to just 2,272 seized in 2006.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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