Hackers may be targeting Olympics

Henry

Several French government institutions are being targeted by cyber attacks of “unprecedented intensity”, says a spokesperson for the French prime minister’s office.

With the Olympic Games just a few months away, the fear now exists that this international sporting spectacle in Paris is in the sights of hackers.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal’s spokesperson said on Monday that several ministerial services had been targeted from Sunday.

According to Attal’s office, the attacks were carried out “using known technical means” but with “unprecedented intensity”.

A so-called crisis center has meanwhile been activated to deploy countermeasures and restore online services.

The latest cyber attack follows a warning from Attal’s defense adviser just last week that the Olympic Games in July and the European Parliament elections in June could be “significant targets”.

Various cyber groups, including Anonymous Sudan, have meanwhile come forward on Telegram, a messaging application, to accept responsibility for the attacks.

Anonymous Sudan is a well-known cyber group that has carried out attacks on websites in countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Israel in the past year.

“We have carried out a massive cyber attack… the damage will be widespread,” the group claimed after the attacks on French government websites.

The group, believed to be based in Sudan, claims various digital government sectors have been affected, “including many important websites with their respective subdomains”.

The group says it targets what it sees as anti-Muslim activity. However, there are some indications that the group is sympathetic to Russia.

The specialist website Numerama says Anonymous Sudan’s exact motivation is “unclear”. However, the website says the group tends to target “enemies designated by Moscow”.

However, a security source told AFP the attacks “are not currently attributable to Russia”, an obvious suspect in many cases, given Paris’ support for Kiev since the invasion of Ukraine.