French PM Attal confirms government targeted in massive cyberattack by pro-Russia hackers

Multiple government ministry websites were targeted by the hacker group Anonymous Sudan.

During the weekend, the French government was a hit by a “massive cyberattack”, targeting multiple government ministry websites. Anonymous Sudan, a pro-Russain hacktivist group, claimed responsibility for the attack and said in an announcement on Telegram that it had “conducted a massive cyber-attack on the infrastructure of the French Interministerial Directorate of Digital Affairs”.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal’s office confirmed the attacks to French media on Monday, and said that the attacks had started on Sunday night, hitting multiple government ministries.

The attack was made using the InfraShutdown DDoS kit (distributed denial of service) – which involves flooding a site with data to overwhelm it and knock it offline.

Multiple sites were said to have been shut down, including the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, National Geographic Institute, Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty, and Ministry of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion.

“Their infrastructure includes more than 17,000 IPs and devices as well as over 300+ domains that have all been knocked down strongly,” the hacker group said.

Other attacks in 2023

The group also attacked France in March 2023, when medical facilities, universities and airports were targeted in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo cartoon furore. The group also leaked information from several airlines and payment providers, claiming it hacked the organizations and gathered sensitive data for sale.

Anonymous Sudan

The hacker group is believed to be based in Sudan, and engages in cyber activism and hacking activities. It is believed to be part of the larger Anonymous network. The group is known for carrying out various types of cyberattacks, including distributed denial of service (DDoS) and defacement attacks – and claims responsibility for these attacks through Telegram and Twitter. Since the Russian-Ukraine war began, Anonymous Sudan has claimed to support the Russian cause – and therefore often attacks Ukrainian/pro-Ukrainian targets. 

Source: CYE blog

Anonymous Sudan has voiced support for Russia, and this attack looks to be a response to France’s support for Ukraine. The French government has accused Russia of operating a long-running online manipulation campaign against Ukraine’s Western backers, and President Emmanuel Macron stated in a press conference in February that they “will do everything needed so Russia cannot win the war”.

Support from the NoName057 hacker group

The hacker group NoName057, also pro-Russia and anti-Ukraine, which earlier announced it had attacked multiple Swedish government websites, also claimed to have attacked France this week. “As part of a joint attack with our colleagues, we looked into France and put down a number of state sites and subdomains of the French energy company EDFAs,” the group said on X.

During the week, the hackers are also said to have attacked Czech targets, including Czech Airlines, Prague Stock Exchange, Czech Business Development and Investment Agency, and other sites related to the Czech financial sector as a response to the country’s support for Ukraine.

The NoName057 hackers also attacked multiple financial institutions in Romania, including Alpha Bank Romania S.A, Government of Romania, Romania’s special telecommunication service, and National Bank of Romania.

“Romanian authorities have allocated €2.5 billion for the construction of a new NATO military base. … While Romania is trying to build a NATO base, we are ruining its internet infrastructure,” the group said.