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Hack attack continues on Hawaii state government websites

  • A group called Operation Green Rights said it is affiliated with the hacker group Anonymous and claimed responsibility on its website for the cyberattack on the Thirty Meter Telescope website and the state of Hawaii portal.

The office of Gov. David Ige said Monday an apparent cyberattack temporarily disrupted the Hawaii state government’s website.

Jodi Leong, the governor’s deputy director of communications, said in a statement that the state site experienced a denial of service and that traffic to and from the site was affected during the attack on Sunday afternoon.

"At no time was data comprised or were services at risk," Leong said. "The website was brought back up on a back-up server at 2 p.m. and full site availability was restored by 4:40 p.m."

A similar attack on the website of Thirty Meter Telescope, the organization trying to construct one of the world’s largest telescopes near the summit of Mauna Kea on Hawaii’s Big Island, continued to disrupt the page into Monday.

Thirty Meter Telescope spokeswoman Sandra Dawson said Monday that the directed disruption of service attack has been ongoing since first discovered Sunday afternoon.

"They keep directing attempts to get into our website such that it overwhelms the website," Dawson said. While there have been no breaches of the company’s secure files, there is enough concern "to make people hesitant and coming up with workarounds for our regular work."

Dawson noted that it appears the people behind the attack are from outside Hawaii and have no connection to the state. "It’s from out of Hawaii," she said. "We have no idea why they are doing this."

A blog site called Operation Green Rights, which claims to be affiliated with the hacker group Anonymous, posted images on its page Sunday claiming responsibility for the attack. The page included screen grabs of both the Thirty Meter Telescope website as well as the main website of the Hawaii state government, indicating that both had been attacked.

Kealoha Pisciotta, a Native Hawaiian organizer and activist who opposes the telescope project, said that while she understands what the group behind the cyberattack is trying to accomplish, she doesn’t agree with their methods.

"We don’t want to suppress any free communication or speech, we definitely need to have open dialogue, so that would mean we would not want anyone closing anything down," she said.

Pisciotta said she and her group of protesters have not been in contact with anyone behind the attack.

"We want to extend our aloha because we do understand they are trying to help," said Pisciotta. "The bigger message is of the importance of Mauna Kea and the importance of aloha."

"Aloha doesn’t work too well if it can’t flow, if it can’t move," she added.

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