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March 12, 2024updated 13 Mar 2024 11:35am

French state cyberattack: Anonymous Sudan claims responsibility

Russia has also been singled out as a potential suspect in "unprecedented" attack on French ministerial services.

By Tech Monitor Staff

The hacker group Anonymous Sudan has claimed responsibility for cyberattacks on several French ministerial services. Cited as being of “unprecedented intensity”, the distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack was first noticed on Sunday night and severely disrupted several government websites.

“We have conducted a massive cyberattack… the damage will be widespread,” Anonymous Sudan posted on Telegram. “A lot of different digital government sectors have been affected, including very important websites, with their respective subdomains.”

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal’s office activated a crisis cell to deploy countermeasures, with public access to all impacted services restored by Monday afternoon. The ability to contain the attacks meant “the impact of these attacks has been reduced for most services and access to state websites restored”, Attal’s office announced, as specialist services including information security agency ANSSI implemented filtering measures until the attacks had ceased.

The French ministerial services were targeted by cyberattacks on Sunday night, but are said to have been restored by Monday afternoon. (Photo by Netfalls Remy Musser via Shutterstock)

A cyberattack of “unprecedented intensity”

The attack targeted the State Interministerial Network, which connects thousands of websites. The attack impacted 177000 IP addresses and over 300 web domains, claims France 24. The DDOS attack flooded the websites with information which caused them to go offline. By Monday afternoon, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal’s Office said “the impact of the attacks has been reduced for most services and access to government sites restored.”

DDoS attacks involve using one or a network of computers to implement multiple requests of a target system which inevitably overwhelms its ability to acknowledge legitimate users. Anonymous Sudan has successfully built a notorious reputation for politically motivated DDOS attacks in the past year, and has been associated with attacks in Sweden, Denmark, the US, Australia and more. The group claims to be based in Sudan, and targets “anti-Muslim activity”, but concrete origins are unclear, as cyber experts suspect the group may have ideological links with Russia, says US cybersecurity firm Cloudflare.

No reasoning for the cyberattack has been solidified

Teams from the Interministerial Digital Affairs Department (DINUM) were also involved in efforts to contain the attacks. While no motivation for the attack has been cited, it comes soon after French President Emmanuel Macron suggested that Europe may need to consider contributing military personnel in efforts to support Ukraine in its was with Russia.

Attal’s defense adviser just last week suggested the Paris Olympics and European Parliament elections which will take place in June this year could be “significant targets” for attacks.

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This latest attack also comes after Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu urged last month to increase protection against “sabotage and cyberattack” from Russia in an internal note saying his ministry was top of Moscow’s target list, AFP reported.

Read more: Ransomware trends to prepare for in 2024

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