A day after messing with servers maintained by Reliance Communications, Anonymous, an international hacker collective, defaced two websites belonging to BJP on Sunday. Through its Twitter account (@opindia_back) it announced that www.mumbaibjp.org and www.bjpmp.org.in were hacked by the group. After the hacking, the group posted a message to web users, asking them to organize protests against "web censorship" in India on June 9.
While the message was displayed on the homepage of www.mumbaibjp.org, on www.bjpmp.org.in it was inserted as a page at www.bjpmp.org.in/ads/anon.html. On Mumbai BJP website the message was accompanied by a catchy tune embedded through a YouTube link.
"Today they took away your right to use a few websites... day after tomorrow they will take away your freedom of speech and no one will be there to speak for you. Speak Now or Never," the message read. The hackers said that people should print out or buy Guy Fawkes Masks and wear them while protesting against web censorship in Bangalore, Mangalore, Kochi, Chennai, Vizag, Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad on June 9.
TOI reached out to Anonymous though Twitter, asking why it defaced BJP websites. ""Just needed a website to display our message," said the person managing @opindia_back.
The Ion, who is likely a part of Anonymous and who uses @ProHaxor alias on Twitter, added, "BJP are the opposition they should have stopped this or should have organised a protest they did not do any."
Incidentally, CERT-IN, the nodal agency in India for monitoring security and hacking incidents within the country's cyberspace, said in a report on Sunday that hackers are targeting Indian websites. "It is observed that some hacker groups are launching Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on websites of government and private organizations in India," the report said and asked network administrators to keep vigil.
Anonymous started attacking websites belonging to government agencies and companies likeReliance Communications last week after internet service providers blocked several websites in the country on the basis of an order by Madras high court. Anonymous says the blocking of websites is illegal and suppression of freedom of speech. On Friday it held a virtual 'press conference' and released a list of websites that were allegedly blocked on the internet service provided by Reliance Communications even though there was legal requirement for the ISP to do so. The hackers said they stole the list from Reliance' servers. At the same 'press briefing' the group called on Indian people to organize protests against web censorship on June 9.
In the last few months, Anonymous has organized or played a dominant role in real world protests against what it perceives censorship and abuse of power. The most popular of these protests has been Occupy Wall Street in the US. Though there were a number of groups and individuals involved in these protests Anonymous had played a key role in spreading the word.