Anonymous, the international hacking collective, claims to have defaced Chinese government websites in an apparent protest of internet censorship.
Anonymous China, described as a new branch of the hacktivist group, said it attacked hundreds of websites in China, including those of government bureaus.
A Twitter account in the name of Anonymous China lists websites the group said it hacked over the last few days, to protest the Chinese government's draconian censorship via its "Great Firewall." The hacks were also announced on Pastebin.com.
Nearly 500 websites are said to have been targeted.
Chinese government officials have denied the sites were hacked, the Associated Press reported.
The Wall Street Journal said that no central government websites displayed obvious signs of having been hacked.
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One of the sites targeted was that of the central business district for Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province.
An English-language message posted on the website (cdcbd.gov.cn) offered instructions on how to get around the "Great Firewall of China."
"Dear Chinese government, you are not infallible, today websites are hacked, tomorrow it will be your vile regime that will fall," the message read.
"What you are doing today to your Great People, tomorrow will be inflicted to you. With no mercy."
ZDNet reported that while some of the Chinese websites were defaced, others have had administrator accounts, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses leaked.
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