Turkish hackers have launched revenge attacks against the French government after the country’s lower house of parliament approved a bill that would outlaw the denial of the 1915 massacre of Armenians in Turkey as a crime of genocide.
The website of the Senate
, France’s upper house of parliament which will have to approve the bill before it can become law, was down for two days over the Christmas weekend.
On the evening of December 24, the site showed a black screen signed by Iskorpit, an infamous Turkish hacker who claims to have hijacked some half a million websites during his "career."
A source at the Senate said the site came under a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, in which thousands of hijacked computers bombard a website with demands for information, swamping it and effectively shutting it down.
On the same day the website of Valérie Boyer
, parliamentarian from the ruling UMP party in the lower National Assembly and primary sponsor of the “genocide bill”, was hijacked, this time showing a black screen with a Turkish flag.
Messages in Turkish and English called the National Assembly’s approval of the genocide bill “pathetic and pitiful” and accused France of committing a genocide in Algeria.
The message was signed by a group calling itself “GrayHatz”, which according to French news site Nouvelobs.com
includes members of “Akincilar”, the group that launched the attacks on satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo
after it published an edition “guest-edited by the Prophet Mohammed” titled “Charia Hebdo” last November.
Charlie Hebdo’s offices were also firebombed on the day the controversial issue went to press, although one purported member of Akincilar calling himself “Ekber” told Sunday newspaper Journal du Dimanche that the cyber group had nothing to do with the firebombing.
Immediately after the dual Christmas Eve attacks, Akincilar announced its intention to “hack the websites of every single French lawmaker”, nouvelobs.com reported, quoting one of its members saying the group would publish a list of all its attacks made in France with their GrayHatz “friends”.
“These hackers are acting with impunity in Turkey,” said the blogger. “Not one of them was questioned after attacking Charlie Hebdo’s site, or for their many attacks on other sites.”
“If these people had targeted [Turkish Prime Minister] Recep Erdogan’s site, they would already have been locked up and would be facing terrorism charges.”
Meanwhile, Valerie Boyer's site remained down on Tuesday as she told reporters that she was filing a criminal complaint for harassment. On Monday, she told BFM radio that she had also received “threats of death, of rape, of destruction of property and of physical assault” and that her parents and children had also been threatened.
As for the Senate's website, it was quickly restored and went back on line.