Cyberattack Targets Government Websites

In Senegal, nine months before a presidential election, dozens of official websites were taken down for a second day on Saturday as a result of a cyberattack that the Anonymous hacking group claimed responsibility for.

The @MysteriousTeamO account, which identified itself as a member of the hacker collective Anonymous, claimed responsibility for targeting websites used by the government, including the defense and health ministries, as well as those managed by the presidency.

Additionally, it claimed to have impacted Air Senegal’s website, the country’s flag carrier.

By Saturday mid-afternoon, the most of the impacted websites were back online, but access to several others was sporadic.

As of Friday night at midnight, “dozens of government websites, networks, and online services” have been impacted by the attack, according to global internet watchdog NetBlocks, which was reported by AFP.

Although there do seem to be brief service restorations, according to NetBlocks, “these have not been sustained and the attack is still going on.”

The attack was carried out in “solidarity” with Senegalese citizens and their freedom to freely elect their president, according to the @MysteriousTeamO account.

Abdou Karim Fofana, a government spokesperson, admitted the incident. He called it a distributed denial-of-service attack that aimed to overwhelm the target with an excessive amount of internet traffic and stop the system from operating normally.

According to the relevant department, staff are trying to get things back to normal “as soon as possible,” he stated in a statement.

On Saturday night, access to the presidency’s website and a few other offices was restored.

The attack occurs as the political situation in the West African nation is tight.

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