Indian ISPs targeted in Anonymous censorship protest

Their websites have been attacked as blocks on some file-sharing sites continue

The websites of Indian government-run communications company Mahanagar Telephone Nigam and the Internet Service Providers Association of India faced DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks from Anonymous on Wednesday as some Internet service providers continue to block file-sharing websites following a court order.

ISPs are only following the orders of the court which are supreme, said Rajesh Chharia, president of ISPAI, who was doubtful that the association's website had been affected by the hackers.

The Indian arm of Anonymous previously attacked some government websites, and those of some political parties. Last month, users reported that the hackers tinkered with the service of a large ISP, Reliance Communications, redirecting its users from sites like Facebook and Twitter to a protest page. The hackers also claimed to have attacked the website and servers of Reliance, and got access to a large list of URLs blocked by the company. Reliance denied its servers were hacked.

The attacks follow a March court order directing ISPs to prevent a newly released local movie from being available online in pirated versions. Some ISPs blocked some file-sharing sites altogether, rather than any offending URLs. The measures taken by the ISPs have differed depending on their interpretation of the order, Chharia said.

Some websites such as The Pirate Bay continue to be blocked by some ISPs and carried the message, "This website/URL has been blocked until further notice either pursuant to Court orders or on the Directions issued by the Department of Telecommunications." Pastebin is also not accessible through some ISPs.

Internet service providers are against censorship, and also against piracy, Chharia said. "It is up to the government and various groups to come to a resolution," he added. The responsibility of intermediaries has been a controversial issue in India, with some Internet companies including Google and Facebook sued in court late last year for objectionable content found on their sites.

Anonymous meanwhile plans on June 9 what it describes as non-violent protests across many cities in India against censorship of the Internet in the country. It claims to have already received police permission for some of the protests.

The scope of the protests has widened to include demands for changes in the India's Information Technology Act, which among other things allows the government to block websites under certain conditions, and also allows the removal of online content by notice to ISPs. The government is also in the process of framing rules that will put curbs on freedom on social media, according to the hacker group.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by John Ribeiro

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place