The attack on the ANC site involved multiple computers overwhelming the site’s server with huge amounts of traffic. This is known as a DoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack.
This came a day after Mugabe used a presidential decree to by-pass Parliament and fast-track amendments to electoral laws. He said he had to do this if he was to comply with a Constitutional Court order to hold elections by end of next month. This unilateral and controversial call for polls at the end of July has created a potential constitutional crisis.
Anonymous Africa, which has a twitter account called “zim4thewin” sent a tweet shortly after the cyber attack saying:
http://www.anc.org.za is tango down! for being corrupt and supporting the mass murdering Mugabe. #anc #africa #zimbabwe #anonymous.
The activist group accuses President Jacob Zuma’s party of being Mugabe’s enabler. Zuma is the facilitator to the SADC mediated Zimbabwe coalition government between ZANU PF and the MDC formations.
The development comes as SADC heads of state prepare to hold an extraordinary summit of Zimbabwe in the Mozambican capital Maputo on Saturday.
Africa Anonymous has in the past week also attacked several ZANU PF related sites, including the state controlled Herald newspaper and the Ministry of Defence website in Zimbabwe.
They also hacked South African news portal IOL, which had written an opinion piece last Sunday which the activists said “glorified” 89 year old Mugabe.
Many people took to twitter to react to what some described as a new form of cyber activism or ‘Internet Street Protest’. One of the tweets read: ‘I hear Herald has been subjected to a DOS attack. Good Job’ and another said: ‘Just want to be a fly on the wall of the ANC boardroom when the @zim4thewin conversation goes down. Imagine’.
However other observers were not so impressed: “If they were doing this to get some information would be helpful, but not just to bring down a website.”
A DoS attack has frequently been used to obtain sensitive information and e-mail files on a server while it is rebooting. It is not clear if these attacks gained any such information or if they were designed purely to annoy and protest.