Hackers Launch Attack against Internet Sites of Tunisian Government
The North Africa Journal : Hackers have brought down the servers of several government entities in Tunisia. As of 6:12 PM US Eastern time on Tuesday January 4, 2011, websites like tunisia.gov.tn, tunisianindustry.nat.tn and carthage.tn were down allegedly under the effect of a distributed denial of service attack organized by Wikileaks defenders. A random check of a variety of .TN domain names leads us to believe that the attack is broad and not just focused on specific websites. Note that sources within Tunisia proper say they are able to access those sites, but our own attempts from various foreign locations did not succeed.
The Internet site readwriteweb.com suggests that the attack came from a pro-Wikileaks group that also staged similar attacks on Visa, PayPal and others that sided against Wikileaks in its most recent releases. In the case of Tunisia, Internet security firm Sophos reports that “members of the loosely-knit Anonymous group gathered on an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) forum yesterday (January 2, 2011), and singled out various official Tunisian websites for attack.” Two days later, those sites were still down. Sophos then "quoted a statement" apparently released by the hackers specifically attacking the Tunisian government.
Wikileaks has released substantial information on virtually all Arab governments, which reacted differently but most have been seeking to control access. In the Maghreb Morocco both Le Monde and El Pais print editions that reported on Morocco in Wikileaks were banned. The Algerian government has not taken any action. Its newspapers and Internet sites have widely reported on the topic of Algeria in Wikileaks and to our knowledge journalists have not been threatened. Tunisia, in contrast, has taken the most severe stance, essentially blocking sites with any reference on it in Wikileaks.
Finally, it is important to note that hacking or launching Distributed Denial of Service Attacks are illegal under all national laws and international agreements. But they have been an important tool for some people to protest against one issue or another. Our site, The North Africa Journal was recently the target of hackers with an attack that apparently originated from North Africa proper.