Thirty Meter Telescope’s site hacked

Thirty Meter Telescope’s website suffered a cyberattack on Sunday and wasn’t operating properly, confirmed the organisation.

The organisation is trying to construct one of the largest telescopes for stargazing near the summit of Mauna Kea on Hawaii's Big Island, an idea that doesn't sit well with some people.

Thirty Meter Telescope spokeswoman Caroline Witherspoon confirmed that the company's website suffered a disruption, but could not say who was responsible for the attack. She said the site was unavailable for about two hours.

"TMT today was the victim of an unscrupulous denial of service attack, apparently launched by Anonymous," said Sandra Dawson, a spokeswoman for the project. "The incident is being investigated."

The site was back online and operating normally as of Sunday evening.

The land on top of Mauna Kea is sacred to the native Hawaiians, who have been opposing the project, which is why Hawaii Gov. David Ige recently arranged a halt in construction to further discuss the issue.

A group, claiming to have connections with Anonymous, took responsibility for the attack.

A blog site called Operation Green Rights posted screenshots of both the Thirty Meter Telescope website as well as the main website of the Hawaii state government indicating that both had been attacked.

Ige's director of communications Cindy McMillan could not confirm the attack on the government site, but has asked for an investigation.

The telescope project received more than $240 million (£158 million) in funding from Canada recently. It's billed as the most powerful optical instrument on Earth for viewing the cosmos.

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