The Department of Internal Affairs website was under threat of attack from the shadowy 'hacktivist' group Anonymous.

But it appears that either Anonymous didn't carry out the attack, or government IT specialists managed to protect the site from going down.

Google this morning was indexing the DIA homepage with the message "This is a temporary landing page for visitors to the Department of Internal Affairs family of websites, during a planned network outage."

Anonymous is known for numerous attacks on corporate websites like Visa, Mastercard and PayPal after they resolved to stop processing payments and donations to the WikiLeaks whistleblowing site founded by Australian Julian Assange.

The group had threatened to hit the Internal Affairs site this morning over plans to introduce internet filtering in New Zealand.

The filter, which many believe is an attack on internet freedom, is being offered to ISPs and claims to block access to sites containing child porn content.

Anonymous said "the attacks will continue until The Department of Internal Affairs vetos their own decision and releases the free flow of information to New Zealand."

Its intentions were detailed on a YouTube video uploaded by user NZAnonOps last month. It was due to commence a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack at 5pm on March 28, Eastern Standard Time. That was 10am, local time.

DDoS attacks commonly use botnets (networks of hijacked computers) to flood a site with requests, overwhelming servers and essentially making a site inaccessible.

The Internal Affairs website was down last Thursday, but remains live this morning.

- NZ HERALD STAFF