MI5 website briefly knocked offline by possible cyber attack

No sensitive information was held on the website and no data was lost, it is understood.

MI5 in London
MI5 in London

MI5’s website was down for part of Friday after a possible cyber attack.

The security service’s public site was briefly unavailable for intermittent periods in the morning but is now back online – with the incident resolved.

The cause of the problem is being looked at but was considered to be a minor outage, the PA news agency understands.

The website is believed to have been subject to a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, which seeks to disrupt a site by flooding it with web traffic in a bid to try and knock it offline.

It is understood no sensitive information was held on, or connected to, the website and no data was lost.

Anonymous Russia, reportedly a group of pro-Russian hackers, has apparently claimed responsibility for the attack, but whether they were behind it has not been verified.

DDoS is a common form of cyber attack used by a wide range of perpetrators, the nature of which makes it difficult to attribute responsibility to a particular group.

A security source said the website was “intermittently unavailable this morning and is now back online”, adding: “As is standard when this happens, the information members of the public might need to report anything suspicious was clearly displayed instead of the usual homepage.”

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