American hacking group killed the BBC's online presence to test anti-ISIS attack powers

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A huge DDoS attack took the BBC's websites offline on Thursday, as well as the broadcaster's iPlayer streaming service. The disruption lasted for several hours, and now a US-based group of 'cyber hackers' that usually targets ISIS has claimed responsibility.

The New World Hacking group is a self-proclaimed hacktivist group that supports Anonymous. It says that despite effectively knocking the BBC from the face of the web, it was only meant to be a test of server power rather than a targeted attack on the corporation.

While the BBC acknowledged that there had been a 'technical problem' with its online services on Thursday, it has not commented on whether this came as the result of a DDoS attack or not. On New Year's Eve, New World Hacking expressed surprise that their 'attack' had hit the headlines:

In a series of tweets to BBC technology reporter Rory Cellan-Jones today, New World Hacking said:

We are based in the US, but we strive to take down Isis [IS] affiliated websites, also Isis members.

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

The reason we really targeted [the] BBC is because we wanted to see our actual server power.

The group says that ISIS will continue to be its primary target, but it's not clear if further 'server tests' could result in other big sites being hit:

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