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Syrians strike back at Anonymous

Hacktivists’ social network apparently hijacked by pro-regime hackers

Syria has been destabilised by protests for months
Syria has been destabilised by protests for months

Pro-government hackers in Syria have apparently retaliated against hacktivist collective Anonymous by temporarily taking over the latter's social networking site.

When accessing Anonymous's site, AnonPlus, earlier today, visitors were greeted with the words "Terrorist Kills, Syrian Army and Syrian Civilians" in large type against a flag of the Arab nation, which has been subject to mass anti-government protests in recent months. Since the unrest began, up to 2,000 civilians and 500 members of President Bashar Al-Assad's security forces have reportedly been killed.

Earlier this week, Anonymous hijacked Syria's Ministry of Defence's website, posting the message: "The world stands with you against the brutal regime of Bashar Al-Assad. Know that time and history are on your side - tyrants use violence because they have nothing else, and the more violent they are, the more fragile they become."

No-one has claimed responsibility for today's attack on AnonPlus, but one possibility could be the pro-government Syrian Electronic Army group. The collective, which has ties to the Syrian Computer Society (which Al-Assad was formerly head of), has previously attacked the websites of Western news organisations.

The hackers appear to blame the Muslim Brotherhood for unrest in the country.

They posted the following message in both Arabic and English on AnonPlus this morning: "In response to your hacking to the website of the Syrian Ministry of Defence, the Syrian people have decided to purify the internet of your pathetic website. Your website has been hacked, and here we leave you these photos showing the scale of terrorism committed by Muslim Brotherhood Organization, whose members have been killing Syrian citizens - civilian and military. You are defending this terrorits [sic] organization and this is our response. here is photos of the Syrian Army Martyrs"

The attackers posted a link to graphic photos of casualties on the side of Syria's security forces.

At time of publication, AnonPlus was back up and running.