Web hackers Anonymous shut down the Egyptian government’s website on Wednesday, the group said. The government of Yemen also had its official site hacked, also thought to be the work of Anonymous.

According to Anonymous member, Gregg Housh the loosely affiliated group of “hacktivists” gathered about 500 supporters online to bring down the websites of the Ministry of Information and President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party in Egypt.

Anonymous has previously shut down the websites of Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Amazon, after those sites withdrew their support from WikiLeaks.

The group claims its latest the move was in support of the antigovernment protests in Egypt.

Anonymous hacktivists arrested
Five killed in Egypt protests

Last month, Anonymous shut down the websites of the Tunisian government in support of the protests there.

Housh said, “We’re sick of oppressive governments encroaching on people.”

The FBI has said the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks could lead to criminal charges and a possible 10-year jail sentence.

However Housh says he is not guilty of any illegal activity himself.

Anonymous’ DDoS attacks on the official government websites of Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen are seen as largely symbolic – acts of solidarity with the uprising people of those countries – as the sites are probably not key to the internal functioning of the government.