Swat team visits Mumsnet boss after cyber hack

Justine Roberts faced hacking at parenting website Mumsnet. Picture: PA
Justine Roberts faced hacking at parenting website Mumsnet. Picture: PA
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Armed police were called to the home of Mumsnet chief executive Justine Roberts by a hacker who broke into the parenting website, she has claimed.

Ms Roberts said officers arrived at her London home in the early hours after a false claim a “gunman was prowling around”.

Mumsnet has now told its users to reset passwords in an effort to combat a number of hacker attacks which have hit the site and which forced it temporarily offline last week.

Ms Roberts told users that a now-suspended Twitter account – called @DadSecurity – had claimed responsibility for launching a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the night of August 11.

She wrote: “Our servers were bombarded with requests, which required our internet service provider to massively increase server capacity to cope.

“We were able to restore the site at 10am on Wednesday ­August 12.” The Twitter account boasted in various tweets, “Now is the start of something wonderful”, “RIP Mumsnet”, “Nothing will be normal any more” and “Our DDoS attacks are keeping you offline”.

Ms Roberts told users she had been the victim of a “swatting ­attack”. This is where an internet troll makes an emergency call to police to report that a crime is taking place at the victim’s home in the hope that a SWAT team will be sent there.

She wrote: “An armed ­response team turned up at my house last week in the middle of the night, after reports of a gunman prowling around.

“A Mumsnet user who engaged with @DadSecurity on Twitter was warned to ‘prepare to be swatted by the best’ in a tweet that included a picture of a SWAT team, after which police arrived at her house late at night following a report of gunshots.

“Needless to say, she and her young family were pretty ­shaken up. It’s worth saying that we don’t believe these addresses were gained directly from any Mumsnet hack, as we don’t ­collect addresses. The police are investigating both instances.” Ms Roberts said that someone had hacked into some of the site’s administrative functions.

This meant they were able to redirect Mumsmet’s homepage to the @DadSecurity Twitter profile page, as well as to edit posts from two users’ accounts.

Over the weekend, a user reported that posts had been made under her name which were not by her.

The fear is that the hacker –who also wrote about the hoax on a Mumsnet forum – had got hold of some users’ passwords. A Metropolitan Police spokesman was unable to comment.