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Anonymous Blamed for Attacks on Technology Group Websites

Two technology trade associations said they were targeted by the hacker-activist group Anonymous as it singled out supporters of proposed legislation to improve U.S. cybersecurity.

Anonymous claimed credit for denial-of-service assaults on the TechAmerica and USTelecom websites, according to the associations representing companies including International Business Machines Corp., Apple Inc. and AT&T Inc. Such offensives typically involve flooding a website with traffic, causing it to crash.

The organizations said the attacks amount to reprisal for supporting the legislation, among cybersecurity bills under consideration by Congress, designed to encourage companies and government agencies to voluntarily share information about cyber threats.

Users couldn’t connect to the website for USTelecom, which represents telephone companies led by AT&T, Verizon Communications Inc. and CenturyLink Inc., starting April 8 and the site was “up and down” yesterday as technicians worked to restore service, said Anne Veigle, a spokeswoman.

The website of TechAmerica, whose members include IBM, Microsoft Corp. and Apple, wasn’t loading yesterday afternoon. The attack began April 8 and the association was working yesterday to get the site back up, Stephanie Craig, a TechAmerica spokeswoman, said in an interview.

The trade groups support cybersecurity legislation introduced by Representatives Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger of Maryland, the panel’s top Democrat.

Data-Sharing Legislation

USTelecom officials spotted a Web posting that said the trade group’s website had been taken down by Anonymous members, Karn Dhingra, a spokesman, said in an interview.

A Twitter account called @Anon_Central yesterday called the Rogers bill “draconian” and posted a link to groups and companies supporting the legislation.

“By launching a cyber attack in an effort to coerce, intimidate and stifle speech, members of Anonymous are acting contrary to the very freedoms and Internet norms that they espouse,” Walter McCormick, president of USTelecom, said in an e-mailed statement.

Shawn Osborne, TechAmerica’s president, said in a statement that “these types of strong-arm tactics have no place in the critical discussions our country needs to be having about our cybersecurity, they just underscore the importance of them.” TechAmerica will keep pushing for the Rogers bill, Osborne said.

The bill is HR 3523.

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