David Fisher

David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

Spy law MPs target of 'hacktivist' group

Shadowy band that closed GCSB website says it will expose the secrets of politicians who passed controversial legislation.

Mr Dunne said it was likely hacking and release of private information would lead to calls for the Government to get tougher on security. Photo / Michael Craig
Mr Dunne said it was likely hacking and release of private information would lead to calls for the Government to get tougher on security. Photo / Michael Craig

Politicians who were instrumental in the passing of the controversial GCSB law are being targeted by an international hacker group which wants to dump their secrets online.

The Anonymous group of "hacktivists" say they will give the politicians who voted the bill in the chance to prove they truly have nothing to hide - and nothing to fear.

In an interview with the Herald, carried out through encrypted chat services, an Anonymous member named Prime Minister John Key, his deputy Bill English and Attorney-General Chris Finlayson as top of the hit list. United Future leader Peter Dunne and Act leader John Banks were also named.

"Releasing such personal information sends a message that they're not very hard to find, they aren't the only ones who can gather intelligence.

The Anonymous group has already conducted a successful strike against the Government, knocking the GCSB website offline on Friday. The person speaking to the Herald claimed to be a New Zealander and to have co-ordinated the attack.

The Herald contacted the person through two YouTube videos which threatened action. The YouTube account was linked to Twitter messages sent to the MPs being targeted.

Internationally, the Anonymous group has caused havoc for corporations, governments and other organisations with hack attacks and operations designed to overwhelm and shut down computer systems. They have been called both cyber-terrorists and freedom fighters, attracting international law enforcement action and arrests by the FBI. The group maintains it can continue in spite of the arrests, using the slogan "We are legion" and saying it has no central body.

The Anonymous member said the denial of service attack on Friday which took down the GCSB website was a distraction for an attack which secured secret data. The action had been driven by the passing of the new GCSB law. "It's an unadulterated violation of human rights, constitutionally illegal, and an invasion of the people's privacy. John Key is weak for giving in to the United States."

Told involvement in the attack risked jail, the person said: "You sign up to the army, you get deployed in Afghanistan. There is always a risk of getting killed, but it's a risk they are willing to take for their country."

A GCSB spokesman confirmed the attack, saying no moves were underway to find the culprit and there was no record of data being taken.

Mr Key had no comment. However, Mr Dunne said it was likely hacking and release of private information would lead to calls for the Government to get tougher on security.

Asked if he had information he'd rather keep hidden, he said: "I'm just not sure. There may be things but I'm not sure where they are located."

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- NZ Herald

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