Police launched an investigation on Thursday after hackers linked to the anti-establishment group Anonymousblocked an anti-terrorism hotline and illegally recorded officersfrom the country's top security unit discussing their actions.
|The bomb destroyed number 30 double-decker |
bus in Tavistock Square in central London July 8, 2005.
An activist group called Team Poison jammed the hotline with repeated calls - so-called "phone bombing", preventing those with genuine concerns from getting through in the latest attack on a high-profile institution.
Recordings of the hoax calls to the hotline, which is manned by specially trained police, and of other officers apparently from London police's Counter Terrorism Command (CTC) discussing the attack have been put on the YouTube website.
"We are aware of an issue whereby hoaxers have made calls to the Anti-Terrorist Hotline and have made recordings of their conversations with Anti-Terrorist Hotline staff," London's Metropolitan Police Service said in a statement.
"Officers are currently looking into the matter and appropriate action will be taken."
Hackers had disrupted the Home Office (interior ministry) website on Sunday, although a spokeswoman for the department said the site itself had not been breached.
In February, Anonymous published a recording of a confidential call between FBI agents and London detectives discussing actions they were taking against hackers.
The latest recording appears to capture a handover conversation between CTC officers at the end of a shift. One said they had received about 700 hoax calls from Team Poison which had prevented any genuine callers getting through.
Other clips on YouTube featured officers speaking to one hacker, who appears to have an American accent and gives his name as Trick. He also refers to Ryan Cleary, a Briton who has been charged with phone-hacking offences.
"Other people can't get through because you are constantly putting this Team Poison stuff on," a female officer says.
After the call is ended, a number of people can be heard sniggering.
Twitter messages suggested a variety of motives for the attack on the Home Office, including government plans to boost digital surveillance powers and the country's extradition treaty with the United States, which critics say is biased in Washington's favour.
The messages warned there would be further attacks on government websites every Saturday.
During the recorded calls, Trick says his groups is carrying out the attacks to embarrass governments and foil the police. A message on the Twitter account purportedly belonging to Team Poison said: "Free all the innocent people you've imprisoned".