Denial-of-service attack puts CIA website offline

Claiming the responsibility for the attack which made the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)'s main website - cia. gov - inaccessible on Friday, hackers linked to the Anonymous group exposed personal data from Alabama court records as well as pilfered e-mails from Mexican mining agency.

The CIA site remained offline on Friday evening for several hours, most probably as a result of a denial-of-service (DoS) attack, in which a target site is flooded with the aim of bringing down its servers. The hackers behind the attack have identified themselves as "the Cabin," a group affiliated to the Anonymous hacker collective.

While the Friday attack on the CIA website is the most recent attack on a US federal agency, it is not for the first time that the CIA website has been put down --- earlier, in June last year, LulzSec group of hackers had temporality brought down the agency's homepage.

Revealing that the hack gave them access to personal details for over 46,000 people who were part of a court amnesty for overdue traffic tickets or other penalties, the hackers said that the attack was essentially a retaliatory move against Alabama's "recent racist legislation in an attempt to punish immigrants as criminals."

Further adding that the data - which included names, dates of birth, home addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, license plates and criminal records - was neither securely segregated nor properly encrypted, the hackers said that the key objective behind the attack was to show to the Citizens of Alabama "the amount of incompetence that is taking place within the state government."