The hacker collective Anonymous has taken down the official Formula 1 website with a Distributed Denial Of Service (DDOS) attack. The group claims it is in response to increasingly violent protests in Bahrain ahead of this weekend's Formula 1 race.
UPDATE (2:27 PM EST): The Formula 1 site is back up, but, I just received the following email from someone named "DwayneV1x." He says:
We have not just taken down Formula 1 Official Site, i have also taken down The following sites, and they will remain down for the rest of the day.
http://www.policemc.gov.bh/ http://www.interior.gov.bh/ http://www.traffic.gov.bh/ http://www.moipr.gov.bh/
UPDATE (11:27 AM EST): The mobile site for Formula 1 is still up, but the regular website is still down. So is live timing.
UPDATE (11:19 AM EST): We now also have the following press release also purporting to be from Anonymous:
Anonymous Press Release - Operation Bahrain
Thursday - April 19, 2012 7:00 PM ET USA
Anonymous has watched with growing alarm the incredible human rights abuses of the Bahrain regime. We have watched this tyrannical government tear gas it's own people literally to death, with over 30 fatalities so far. We have watched as thousands of innocent protesters and activists have been jailed. We have suffered with our dear friend @AngryArabiya on Twitter as she watches her father slowly die of a hunger strike in prison to protest the atrocities committed by the regime of this "king" of Bahrain. We have witnessed doctors and nurses imprisoned for simply treating the wounded protesters that your security forces have brutalized. And finally we have suffered in outrage the ignorance and out right lies of mainstream media regarding what is REALLY happening in Bahrain.
1) This is NOT a Shia uprising against a Sunni government. It is a popular and peaceful revolt against the medieval concept of absolute monarchy. It is a movement that spans all strata and sectors of society, and all religions in Bahrain. It is a movement that demands only freedom, justice - and democracy.
2) This government is not quelling violent protests, it is brutally and violently crushing peaceful dissent.
3) This government is NOT legitimate. It is a tyrannical, barbaric - and human rights violating dictatorship. And ANYONE doing business with this regime have the blood of Bahrain's Freedom Martyrs on their hands.
For over a year now, we have as a global movement concentrated our efforts in Libya and Syria, leaving Anonymous Bahrain to to defend their fellow citizens in cyber space. This will no longer be the case. As of tomorrow, Friday - April 20, 2012 the entire global Anonymous will begin to take up the cause of the Bahrain Revolution. The King of Bahrain be warned, we are about to unleash the worst shitstorm you have ever seen - and your time as dictator is over. We will help your people remove you from power, and we will see you tried in the Hague for your many crimes against humanity.
The occasion of Anonymous re-launching Operation Bahrain will be this despicable Grand Prix Formula One race to be held in Bahrain tomorrow through the 22nd of April. Mr. Eccelstone, you are either one evil mother fucker to hold your race in support of this regime (The Kings family are actually investors and make direct profit) - or else you have been lied to and are ignorant of the atrocities committed by these tyrants. In either case, beginning tomorrow - and lasting for the duration of your race we are going to fucking educate you on the truth in a way you can not ignore.
Beginning tomorrow, and lasting for the duration of this race - Anonymous will turn your web site (www.formula1.com) into a smoking crater in cyber space. We will also jam your phone lines, bomb your E-Mail inboxes - and wreck anything else of yours we can find on the internet. You can god damn well expect us. And to anyone in the world who watches this race, either in person or on television - you also have the blood of the Bahrain Freedom Martyrs on your hands. Turn your face away from this abominable entertainment, and join us online to defend the brave protesters fighting for their freedom in Bahrain. Finally, we join with Anonymous Bahrain in asking that all the drivers in this race protest this evil regime by refusing to cross the start line at the beginning of the race.
Internet Freedom Fighters around the globe, join us this weekend and fight for freedom and justice in Bahrain: irc.voxanon.net #OpBahrain
We Are Anonymous - We Are Everywhere - We Are Legion - We Never Forget - We Never Forgive - EXPECT US
SIGNED — Anonymous
Greetings from Anonymous
For over one year the people of Bahrain have struggled against the oppressive regime of King Hamad bin Al Khalifa. They have been murdered in the streets, run over with vehicles, beaten, tortured, tear gassed, kidnapped by police, had their businesses vandalised by police, and have tear gas thrown in to their homes on a nightly basis.
Still the regmine persists to deny any meaningful reform and continues to use brutal and violent tactics to oppress the popular calls for reformation. Not only is the Human Rights situation in Bahrain tragic, it becomes more drastic with each passing day. For these reasons the F1 Grand Prix in Bahrain should be strongly opposed. The Al Khalifa regime stands to profit heavily off the race and has promised to use live ammunition against protestors in preparation. They have already begun issuing collective punishment to entire villages for protests and have promised further retribution "to keep order" for the F1 events in Bahrain. The Formula 1 racing authority was well-aware of the Human Rights situation in Bahrain and still chose to contribute to the regime's oppression of civilians and will be punished.
We demand the immediate release of human rights worker Abdulhadi Alkhawaja who has spent over 70 days on hunger strike. He has committed no crimes and is being punished by the regime for advocating people's basic human rights. Free him and all other political prisoners in Bahrain. End torture. Deport all mercenary police and stop the use of tear gas against civilians.
We Do Not Forgive. We Do Not Forget. Expect Us.
0x0 was and still is here. Join #OpBahrain
In addition, the official Formula 1 website has been brought to its knees and has not been returning data requests for the past hour.
If you were involved in the DDoS — or you have the scoop on how Anonymous took down Bernie Ecclestone's evil web empire, send me an email.