A hacker affiliated with the notorious Anonymous collective has launched a series of cyberattacks against government portals in North Carolina to protest against the so-called 'bathroom bill' – which has been criticised by many as being anti-LGBT.
The attacks were focused on a number of domains, including the main government portal (nc.gov) and the website of US governor Pat McCrory, who has been a vocal defendant of the controversial proposals.
The hacker responsible told IBTimes UK: "It is not only an operation against the bathroom bill – this is an operation against all the laws against LGBT. [The] reason for launching the attacks was making North Carolina aware that we are here to fight and ready to fight to the end."
The law in question, officially called the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act (or HB2), insists that transgender people must use bathrooms that match the gender of their birth and not the gender they identify with. As previously reported, North Carolina became the first state in the US to pass the proposals in March this year.
Despite Republican support, the bill has had many critics. Indeed, a number of businesses and high-profile celebrities have protested its advance into law – including Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams and Elton John. Even major porn sites got in on the action, with XHamster banning IP addresses of users in the region – but not before noting that gay and transsexual searches were extremely popular in North Carolina.
The hacker used a distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) tool to disrupt government websites perceived to be related to the bill. This type of cyberattack sends a tidal wave of traffic towards a single web server with the aim of taking it offline and is regularly used by Anonymous as a method of protest.
The hacker responsible for this operation, titled OpLGBT, has also started a Twitter account to publicise the ongoing attacks. "F*** you North Carolina main govt website [for] making strong anti-gay laws!" ran the first @OperationLGBT tweet.
In further social-media updates, the hacker posted screenshots showing a number of websites had reportedly been taken offline – including ncgov.org, ncgov.net, ncgov.com, np.nc.gov and governor.state.nc.us.
Following the DDoS attacks, the hacker posted a JustPaste link that purported to hold a database compromised from the North Carolina State University (www.ncsu.edu). The data, viewed by IBTimes UK, includes names, emails and phone numbers of staff members.
This is not the first time Anonymous-affiliated hackers have waded into LGBT issues. In 2012, the group targeted the government of Uganda for its stance on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. "All people have the right to live in dignity free from the repression of someone else's political and religious beliefs. You should be proud of your LGBT citizens, because they clearly have more balls than you will ever have," said a statement posted to PasteBin at the time.
The hacking group recently became embroiled in the ongoing US election campaign after planning operations against presidential hopeful Donald Trump. In one instance, Anonymous members claimed to have leaked his phone number and social security number (SNN) online for the world to see. The latest campaign, however, looks set to continue. The hacker claimed to IBTimes UK: "North Carolina is just the start."