Anonymous has said that it is behind the attacks on two of Japanese automobile manufacturer Nissan’s websites. The hacktivist group says the move is in protest at Japan’s whale hunting activities in the Antartic, despite Nissan saying that it has no views on such hunting activities.
Both Nissan’s global site, nissan-global.com, and Japanese site, nissan.co.jp, were hit with distributed denial of service attacks. The company took down the affected websites as a precaution, but the US and European sites remained online.
"At Nissan, customer privacy and security is of utmost importance, and we take any potential threat to our information systems seriously," said a spokesman."Because of a potential distributed denial of service [DDoS] attack, we are temporarily suspending service on our websites to prevent further risks. Nissan continuously monitors and takes aggressive steps to ensure the protection of our information systems and all of our data."
Nissan is the latest in a line of Japanese companies to come under attack from Annonymous. The group has targeted nearly 100 different websites in Japan as part of its anti-whaling #OpWhales campaign, including those of government officers, aquariums, news organizations, airports, and even the personal website of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The attacks followed similar ones against Icelandic institutions in November that were part of the same campaign. Most of Iceland’s government websites were unavailable for about 13 hours.
One of the hackers claiming responsibility for the attack tweeted that it was done as a protest and not to steal information. "@Nissan.@NissanJP There have been no threat against your information systems. The attack was to take your websites offline [not] steal data."
In 2014, an International Court of Justice ruled that Japan must halt whaling in the Antartic after finding that it wasn’t being conducted for scientific purposes. Despite this judgment, Japan only stopped its hunting activities for one year.
Japan claims the whaling is for research purposes that can only be carried out using lethal methods. It also argues that most whale species are not endangered, and the population is large enough to allow sustainable whaling. The country admits that the meat from the animals is processed into food.
Last month, Anonymous claimed to be behind the massive cyberattack campaign against Turkey; punishment for the country’s alleged dealings with terrorist organization ISIS.