The public website of the Central Intelligence Agency went down on Wednesday evening as the hacker group Lulz Security said it had launched an attack.
Lulz Security has claimed responsibility for recent attacks on the Senate, Sony Corp, News Corp and the U.S. Public Broadcasting System television network.
The CIA site initially could not be accessed from New York to San Francisco, and Bangalore to London. Later in the evening service was sporadic.
“We are looking into these reports,” a CIA spokeswoman said.
Lulz Security has defaced websites, posted personal information about customers and site administrators, and disclosed the network configurations of some sites.
Security analysts have downplayed the significance of these attacks, saying the hackers are just looking to show off and get as much attention as possible.
In the case of the CIA attack, hackers would not be able to access sensitive data by breaking into the agency’s public website, said Jeffrey Carr, author of the book Inside Cyber Warfare: Mapping the Cyber Underworld.
“All they’re doing is saying ‘Look how good we are,'” Carr said. “These guys are literally in it for embarrassment, to say ‘your security is crap.'”