TV5Monde, a French television network based in Paris, faced a total blackout of 11 of its stations on Wednesday. The cause is being blamed on hackers sympathetic to Islamic State terrorists; who also crippled the network’s internal IT system and defaced its social media sites.
The network is as of yet still unable to fully restore broadcasting capabilities, and is currently only airing pre-recorded videos; with no live or updated content being transmitted. While no hacking group has explicitly claimed responsibility for the transmission blackout, it is assumed to have been part of the cyber-attack that cripple the rest of the television company.
TV5Monde’s social media sites were also defaced with pro-IS messages and images mocking the Charlie Hebdo attacks that in January. The messages also bear tags from the CyberCaliphate, a hacking group that claims to have ties to IS terrorists. The CyberCaliphate has previously claimed responsibility for hacking Newsweek’s Twitter account, and also leaking secrets from the US Military central command.
Investigators are still attempting to discover how the hacker penetrated TV5Monde security, although TV5Monde network IT director JP Verines claims that he was warned of unauthorised access to a network server some two weeks before the attack. Verines says that he was not aware of the severity of the problem until the network’s email servers went offline.
This is the first time that an entire TV network has been crippled from a single cyber-attack. Hackers traditionally go after media sources using DDoS attacks to prevent others from accessing the materials, but actually causing multiple live broadcasts to go dark is unprecedented.
Islamic State militants have been shown to be extremely tech savvy, and the terrorist group makes heavy use of the internet to recruit fighters. However, if the CyberCaliphate really is behind these attacks, we could be entering a new phase of cyber-terrorism; one where proficient hackers attempt to sow chaos by crippling IT systems on a national scale.
[Source: Ars Technica]