Ministry of Justice investigate hacking threat

Britain's Ministry of Justice was last night looking into reports that online activists had hacked into its website.

The hackers group Anonymous claimed to have taken down the website in retaliation for Britain's role in handling Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder.

The group warned on Twitter that it was targeting the websites of the Justice Ministry, the Department of Work and Pensions and the Number 10 website.

The Ministry of Justice's main home page appeared to be down, although its other content pages were functioning normally.

A spokeswoman from the ministry said the website was experiencing some problems. She added: "This is a public information website and no sensitive data is held on it. No other Ministry of Justice systems have been affected."

Last night Anonymous tweeted: "Justice.gov.uk seems to be offline. Odd. #Anonymous #Assange."

It added: "The second victim seems to be offline --> http://www.dwp.gov.uk/ #OpFreeAssange #Anonymous. Gov. of UK Expect Us!". And: "Sorry for the delay Forgot to say no3 #TangoDown aprox 1 hour ago ;) http://number10.gov.uk/ #OpFreeAssange" But the Number 10 and Department of Work and Pensions websites appeared to be working normally.

Anonymous has previously claimed to have hacked into the Greek and American justice departments' website.

Assange is taking refuge inside Ecuador's Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning over sexual misconduct allegations.

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