The main website of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), the organization trying to build one of the world's largest telescopes on the peak of Mauna Kea on Hawaii's Big Island, was temporarily disrupted by a cyberattack on Sunday, authorities reportedly said. The website, which was running normally by Sunday evening, was down for about two hours.
Thirty Meter Telescope spokeswoman Caroline Witherspoon confirmed the cyberattack, but could not say who was responsible. However, a site called Operation Green Rights, which claims to be linked to the hacker group Anonymous, posted images on its page Sunday claiming responsibility for the attack.
“TMT today was the victim of an unscrupulous denial of service attack, apparently launched by Anonymous,” Sandra Dawson, a spokeswoman for the project, said, according to the Associated Press (AP). “The incident is being investigated.”
A state-owned website also reportedly suffered a disruption, according to Hawaii News Now, a local news outlet, adding that the website is currently operational.
Operation Green Rights’ page reportedly included screenshots of both the Thirty Meter Telescope website as well as the main website of Hawaii's state government.
"Nothing will ever justify the destruction of the ecosystems; filthy money can never replace them. Stand with Hawaiian natives against TMT (Thirty Meter Telescope),” a message on the group’s page read, with the hashtag "#wearemaunakea."
Locals have protested against the telescope's construction on the highest mountain in the Hawaiian Islands, as the land is considered sacred. Earlier this month, protests intensified following the arrest of 31 protesters at the site. The $1.4 billion telescope is being constructed by TMT Observatory Corp. on Mauna Kea, which has been described as an ideal location for a large telescope.
Cindy McMillan, director of communications for the Hawaii's Gov. David Ige, could not confirm the cyberattack on the government's websites, but said that an investigation is underway, according to AP.