Internet hackers attack Mexican government-related sites

To celebrate Independence Day you might watch fireworks or go out on a picnic, but in Mexico some showed their independence by hacking websites.

According to BBC News, Mexican computer hackers took over at least 10 government-related websites as a political protest on Sept. 16, Mexico’s Independence Day.

The hackers call themselves “Ciber Protesta Mexicana,” which translates to “Mexican Cyber Protest,” and say they are not connected to the international “hacktivist” group known as “Anonymous.”

“We are not Anonymous and we will never be,” reads the statement posted by the hackers. “We are Mexican Cyber Protest. We are not criminals, we are students, workers and productive Mexicans who are fed up and looking for a way to express our disagreement.”

The hackers left the defaced pages along with their messages denouncing the Mexican government, particularly concerning President Felipe Calderon. They accuse him of mismanaging the economy, as well as being responsible for the continued violence in Mexico due to the drug war.

The group also criticized its president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto, calling him an “imposed president” and stating that Mexico’s democracy was “stolen” in the July election, reported the BBC.

“Why, Mexicans, do you really want to celebrate the independence of Mexico with pride?” asks the group’s message, translated into English. “Pride is to have economic stability, good education, access to transparent information with no patches, rights to medical treatment for all … This is to celebrate Mexico!”

Many are noting the similarities between Mexico’s hacks and other recent international hacks.

“A large international community of hackers and cyber warfare or cyber protest, as in the Mexican incident, is commonplace,” said Director of IT&S Craig Gray. “Just in February, a group of hackers known as Anonymous attacked U.S. government websites at the FTC to protest the ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.”

Assistant Professor of Philosophy Vance Ricks also noted that a group of hackers known as “LulzSec” and Anonymous targeted some Vatican websites. The group was  protesting against what they saw as the Vatican’s unacceptable support for priests accused of child molestation.”

Gray states the challenge with prevention of hacking is the rapid landscape change and constant state of flux in cyber warfare. He notes that any government or government agency that wants to prevent hijacking is going to spend a large sum on defensive technology.

For many governments and their agencies, cyber security has become one of the top priorities.

Ricks noted, “If what you’re asking is, ‘How can an agency avoid provoking that sort of attack in the first place?’ rather than, ‘How can an agency defend itself against such attacks?’ then that’s an even harder question to answer.”