Muslims hacktivist groups have launched a massive hacking operation to target thousands of French website in retaliation for the cartoons published by the satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo. The operation was dubbed #opFrance and participants include Fallaga Team from Tunisia, the United Islamic Cyber Force, the C7 Crew, Mauritania Attacker, AnonGhost, Middle East Cyber Army (MECA), and CyberCaliphate.
Some 20,000 French websites were subject to cyber-attacks as part of #opFrance, ranging from military regiments to small business such as pizza shops, mostly using DDoS attacks. Users on Twitter also announced hacks of the University of Toulouse, the French Ministry of Economy, Finance, and Industry, the National Marine Resources Center, banks, and more.
The hackers also targeted French members of Anonymous, which had previously launched its own #OpCharlieHebdo, which targeted jihadi websites. A video posted on YouTube shows Tunisian hackers gaining access to the Facebook page of a French member of Anonymous (see here).
Hacker Groups, Users Promote #OpFrance On Twitter
On Twitter, the hacker groups and other users began calling for the operation several days ago, using hashtags such as #OpFrance and #HellforHebdoPigs. One user wrote on January 10: "#OpFrance Muslims hacking the enemies of Allah!" The United Islamic Cyber Force tweeted: "We are not declared a war [sic.] but we just DEFEND our religion!" On January 9, the Middle East Cyber Army tweeted: "#OPFRANCE DECIDED !! WE ARE MUSLIMS AND WE WILL NOT LET ANYONE TO HUMILIATE US !!! #OPFRANCE WILL START ON 15th OF JANUARY !!!" On January 15, they tweeted: "TODAY IS THE DAY 15/01/2015 !!!! THE DAY #OPFRANCE IS LAUNCHED !!!! EXPECT MASS DEFACES TODAY AND BIG BIG SURPRISES WITHIN THE OPERATION !!"
Following are a collection of tweets from #OpFrace:
The C7 Crew
United Islamic Cyber Force
United Islamic Cyber congratulating CyberCaliphate for hacking the U.S. Armed Forces Central Command (CENTCOM) Twitter and YouTube accounts
Announcing United Islamic Cyber Force has joined #OpFrance
United Islamic Cyber Force reporting on its various hacks
"We are not declared a war but we just DEFEND our religion!!"
Twitter users reporting hacks by AnonGhost
Middle East Cyber Army (MECA)
Video announcing #OpFrance posted on the MECA Facebook page on January 13, 2015
Source: Arabcrunch.com, January 15, 2015; Twitter.com, January 9-15, 2015; Facebook.com/Middle.East.Cyber.Army.4, January 13, 2015.