Senegal hit by wave of cyber attacks

By Issa Sikiti da Silva

Senegal has been hit by a wave of hackings in the past two weeks, two of which hit the popular news website Seneweb.com and ADIE, www.adie.sn, (‘Agence de l’Informatique de l’Etat’), the state-run ICT
management website.

Many observers in this West African nation believe that the cyber-attack, allegedly launched by Islamist radical groups, targeted specifically Senegal because of its head of state’s support of the “Je suis Charlie’ campaign.

President Macky Sall recently travelled to Paris to support Senegal former colony France in the wake of the terrorist attacks perpetrated against the Paris-based satirical publication Charlie Hebdo.

A total of 20 000 websites across the globe, mostly in Europe, are thought to have since been hacked following that incident, spreading to Senegal and sending the chill down internet users’ spines.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I logged in Seneweb and saw that the site was offline,” Aichatou Diouf said last week in the capital Dakar.

Seneweb boss Salam Madior Fall, who admitted that his site was hit by a Distributed Denial-of-Service  (DDoS) attack, aplogised to readers and advertisers. “Thank God, everything has returned to normal. Our technical teams are working hard to deal with such unfortunate cases in the future.” Hackers changed the ADIE home page and loaded their own content.

“This is very serious especially for a government agency,” Fall said. “Things like these can even cause diplomatic incidents because someone may access the foreign ministry's website, for example, and load malicious content.”

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