Cyber Caliphate takes over French TV Station TV5MONDE and its social service pages

Hackers purporting to be supporters of Islamic State knocked out channels belonging to French public television station TV5Monde and posted material on its social media feeds to protest French military action in Iraq.

A group called Cyber Caliphate which is rabid pro-ISIS managed to take a French TV network off air, and hijack its website and Facebook page.

Hacked social media accounts

11 channels belonging to the French-language TV network, which broadcasts to more than 200 countries worldwide, stopped transmitting programmes after what was described as an “extremely powerful cyberattack”.

After calling an emergency meeting to discuss the issue, the TV network’s director general, Yves Bigot, stated that it might take days for the TV5MONDE to recover from the attack,

“We are no longer able to broadcast any of our channels. Our websites and social media sites are no longer under our control and are all displaying claims of responsibility by Islamic State.”

After hijacking TV5MONDE’s social media accounts, the attackers posted threats against French troops, publishing documents purporting to be the ID cards and resumés of French soldiers involved in anti-ISIS operations.  Similar messages were also posted on TV5MONDE’s website.

The French Foreign Ministry confirmed the attack had been claimed by individuals purporting to back Islamic State. French foreign, interior and culture ministers visited the channel’s offices in Paris and pledged to identify those responsible.

“We are faced with determined terrorists, and we are determined to fight them,” Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said, adding that cybersecurity measures would be reinforced.

The ministry has ordered a judicial inquiry into the hacking and it’s primary investigations have already began. While Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin called for a meeting with the heads of major French broadcasters to assess weak cyber security spots and the ways to address them.

France is part of the broader international coalition forces trying to fight the IS insurgency in Iraq and its aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is involved anti-insurgency operations off the Iraqi coast.


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