Many users experienced error screens like this during the attack

Anti-IS group admits attack on BBC online services

An anti-Islamic-State hacking group has claimed responsibility for a cyber-attack on the BBC that brought down many of its services on New Year’s Eve.

Many of the corporation’s online services, including its news website and iPlayer catch-up TV platform, were taken down following a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

The event lasted a number of hours, from 7am GMT until 11.45am, and many users received an error message rather than content (pictured) during that time.

DDoS attackers typically target sites by flooding servers with messages from multiple systems so they are unable to respond to legitimate traffic.

The group, called New World Hackers, said that it did not mean to cause significant disruption.

"It was only a test, we didn't exactly plan to take it down for multiple hours," the group said in a message sent to the BBC's technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones, which he posted on Twitter.

"We realise sometimes what we do is not always the right choice, but without cyber hackers ... who is there to fight off online terrorists?"

A BBC spokeswoman said the broadcaster would not comment on the claim of responsibility made by the group.

In the UK, the corporation’s sites rank only behind Google and Facebook in terms of visitor numbers.

Following attacks in Paris by Islamic State militants in November, the Internet hacking group Anonymous said it had identified the social media accounts of sympathisers of the group resulting in many being shut down.

Meanwhile, a social network account of Russia's communications minister was temporarily blocked on Sunday after a cyberattack carried out by hackers presenting themselves as a Turkish activist group.

The group paraded images of a warplane and Turkish flags on minister Nikolai Nikiforov's Instagram account.

Nikiforov complained that the social network’s technical support team had not reacted to the incident for more than nine hours.

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