Hackers who have claimed allegiance to Islamic State the militant group took control of a global television network based in France, blacking out all at once 11 channels and taking control of the website of the network and its social media accounts.
The cyber attack appears to be a new step in the radical group’s warfare tactics in cyberspace. The hackers were able to briefly cut the transmission to 11 channels that are owned by TV5 Monde and took over its social media sites beginning on Wednesday night.
Yves Bigot the director of the channel said the cyberattack continued on Thursday. He said that the network had restored its signal but was only able to broadcast programs that had been pre-recorded.
Islamic State has claimed to be behind complex hackings that have taken place before, but cyber security experts and an official from France said that the ability to blackout an entire global network created a new sophistication level for the group.
On Thursday, the prosecutor’s office in Paris said they opened an investigation into the cyber attack.
A message on the website of TV5 Monde read that, “I am IS,” with a banner from a group named Cybercaliphate.
That was replaced shortly thereafter by a messaged that said the site was under maintenance. Hackers that claim to work on behalf of the radical Islamic group Islamic State seized control of accounts of Twitter of other media like Newsweek. This past January they hacked a YouTube and Twitter page of the U.S. Central Command.
Manuel Valls the Prime Minister of France said on his twitter account that the attack was an unacceptable insult to the freedom of expression and information and that the ministers in the French government visited the Paris headquarters of the channel on Thursday.
After terrorist attacks in January in France by heavily armed gunmen, that claimed ties to Islamic State and al-Qaeda across Yemen, officials said hackers targeted more than 19,000 websites in France.
An investigative website in France that traced the hacking from January, said this latest attack could be linked directly to two militants that are Islamic State affiliates – one in Algeria who created malicious software and an Iraqi one who helped speed the attack up.