19,000 French Websites Hacked by Cyber-Jihadists

About 19,000 French websites have faced cyberattacks since the attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the Associated Press (AP) reported Thursday. The attacks were first revealed by Adm. Arnaud Coustilliere, head of cyberdefense for the French military.

The attacks, mostly relatively minor denial-of-service attacks, hit sites as varied as military regiments to pizza shops but none appeared to have caused serious damage, he said.

“What’s new, what’s important, is that this is 19,000 sites – that’s never been seen before,” Coustilliere said. “This is the first time that a country has been faced with such a large wave” of cyberattacks.

In addition to the denial-of-service attacks, some websites were defaced with symbols of jihadist groups.

Agence France-Presse reported that “that ‘cyber-jihadist’ hackers from North Africa and Mauritania have claimed responsibility for the hijacking of over 1,000 sites since the January 7 Charlie Hebdo attack, and have threatened a surge of activity on January 15.” One expert though categorized the attacks as “cyber-vandalism.”

Newsweek adds that hacker groups claiming allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) hacked the YouTube and Twitter accounts of U. S. Central Command earlier this week.

[Photo: WTNH News8 / YouTube ]