Observed by: Mr. Alaa Isam
he loose-knit group of online global hackers known as "Anonymous" on Thursday trained its sights on Yemen following cyber attacks on government websites in Tunisia and Egypt.
The website of Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh, presidentsaleh.gov.ye, was inaccessible Thursday following calls by Anonymous members for attacks on the site.
Luis Corrons, the technical director at PandaLabs, the malware detection laboratory for computer security firm Panda Security, said it was likely Anonymous members "feel that somehow they have to support the people in those countries."
"It is a worldwide thing," Corrons said. "They think the goal is obtaining freedom for those countries."
Valleywag, a Silicon Valley blog owned by the Gawker network, said the cyber attacks on official Yemen government websites had been dubbed "Operation Yemen" in Anonymous chat rooms.
Tens of thousands of Yemenis staged a "day of rage" in Sanaa on Thursday against President Ali Abdullah Saleh as clashes and protests against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak were continuing in Cairo.
The attacks on Yemeni websites came a day after Anonymous "hacktivists" resumed attacks on the websites of Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party, the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Information and others.
The hackers first began attacking Egyptian government websites on January 26, according to computer security experts, as part of a campaign dubbed "Operation Egypt" before the authorities there shut down the internet.
Anonymous last month managed to shut down the Tunisian government's official website, the national stock exchange site, and other sites during a popular uprising that led to the ousting of the country's dictator.
In December, members of Anonymous attacked the websites of Amazon, PayPal, MasterCard, Visa and others for withdrawing their services to WikiLeaks.