Religious websites have been the target of denial-of-service attacks or outright vandalism. Yesterday the official website for the Vatican was knocked off the air with other sites and tweet carrying messages claiming it was work of a loose-knit group known as “Anonymous.”
The Catholic News Service wrote:
Italian media outlets reported that the website, vatican.va, became unresponsive around mid-afternoon local time, just as several other websites carried messages taking credit for the disruption in the name of the hacking group Anonymous. Email to and from the vatican.va domain was reportedly also blocked for at least part of the time.
A posting on one Italian site claimed that the attack was an act of revenge for an array of outrages, including the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests and the historic practice of selling indulgences for sins.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, confirmed that vatican.va had been the “object of an attack,” but said in a statement that he had no other information or comment to offer.
The incident occurred one day after U.S. federal prosecutors in New York announced criminal charges against four people affiliated with several hacking groups, including Anonymous. The four were charged with disrupting Internet service and breaching the privacy of computer systems belonging to Fox Broadcasting Co. and the Public Broadcasting System, among others.
Not only that, someone tweeted in the name of a prominent Cardinal that the Pope was dead. He isn’t.
Last week, three religious organizations in North Carolina were also attacked.
Calling it a “sickness to this world,” members of the formless ‘hacktivist’ group of computer programmers known as Anonymous declared war on religion on Friday, March 2, hacking the websites of three Christian organizations all based in and around Charlotte, North Carolina. The homepages for Bethel Outreach International Church, Charlotte International Church, and Crossfire Ministries were all replaced with the 30-minute long YouTube video, “Richard Dawkins: An Atheist’s Call to Arms,” and an informal declaration of war, with the title, “religion sucks lol [laugh out loud]….”
…The video that Anonymous posted on each hacked site is a 31-minute speech by famous atheist Richard Dawkins, in which he told his fellow atheists not to hide their beliefs, and to fight against “the incursion of religion into politics and education.”