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Over 170 Australian sites hit by Anonymous Indonesia in retaliation for NSA spying

A group calling itself "Anonymous Indonesia" has carried out a large number of attacks on the websites of Australian businesses. Over 170 websites were hit by the attack, and plastered with the message, "Hacked by Cyber_Taregh & Jje Incovers – Stop spying on Indonesian".

The attack is apparently a response to allegations that Australian embassies acted as a "listening post" for the surveillance activities of the American National Security Agency (NSA). The Australian government has refused to comment on the accusations, however, stating that it doesn't comment on intelligence matters.

The hacked websites are mostly those of small businesses, including a bouncy-castle hire shop in Perth, a grout cleaner from Brisbane and dry cleaner in Melbourne. The Twitter account of Anonymous Indonesia, @anon_indonesia, posted the names of more than 100 of the websites taken down in the series of attacks.

The site of prominent Brisbane psychologist Paula Barrett was also defaced with the message: "Tell on your government stop all forms of tapping into Indonesia or we will make your internet network destroyed".

On Saturday, Anonymous Philippines defaced government websites - including embassy and regional authority pages - to protest against government corruption. It called on its supporters to attend a rally on 5 November, Guy Fawkes Day.

Singapore's highest-selling newspaper, The Straits Times, was also the victim of an Anonymous-inspired hacker calling himself "The Messiah", who took over the blog of one of thenewspaper's journalists, Irene Tham. He posted the message "Dear ST: You just got hacked for misleading the people!"

In January of this year, members of the same group defaced more than 12 government websites in Indonesia following the arrest of an alleged hacker in East Java.

The Indonesian government has also joined calls for a full explanation by the US agency and its Australian counterparts. "Enough is enough," Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told reporters on Monday.

"While [the US and Australia] are not able to confirm or deny past activities, at least they should be able, and I'm making a public expectation here, I think they should be able to say henceforth they are not going to do it anymore," he said.

The attacks come shortly after new research showed how small businesses have an inflated sense of security, despite being the victims of a disproportionate amount of cybercrime.

Image: Flickr (Michael Kappel)