French government hit by ‘unprecedented’ cyber attack

French President Emmanuel Macron waits on the steps of the Elysee Palace, Monday, March 11, 2024 in Paris. Emmanuel Macron has announced new legislation to legalize "aid in dying" that will allow adults facing end-of-life illness to take lethal medication, a first in the country. The move follows last year's report indicating that most French citizens support legalizing end-of-life options. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

Several French government departments were hit by an “unprecedented intensity” of cyberattacks claimed by pro-Russian hackers, the French news agency AFP reported on Monday evening.

The series of attacks was claimed by several hacker groups on the Telegram social networking site, including Anonymous Sudan, which supports Russia and Islamism.

According to these hackers, “the massive cyberattack” affected the ministries in charge of the economic, cultural and energy transition, as well as the prime minister’s office and the French Civil Aviation Authority.

The attacks “cannot be attributed to the Russians for the time being,” a security source told AFP. However, another source said Anonymous Sudan’s claim was “credible,” while a third urged caution over jumping to conclusions.

“Since last night, several government bodies have been the target of cyberattacks of unprecedented intensity,” confirmed the French prime minister’s office, which has set up a “crisis team to take countermeasures”. According to the information, several ministries have been affected, including the Ministry of Labor.

“The impact of the attacks is now limited for most agencies, and access to government websites has been restored,” a spokesperson for the prime minister added.

“Ahead of the summer Olympics in Paris, the European Parliament elections on June 9 will be a major target for foreign manipulation,” Stéphane Bouillon, director general for national defense and security, warned.

Bouillon reports to the prime minister and has called a meeting on March 29 with all French political parties standing in the European Parliament elections to brief them on the hybrid threats and discuss with them the “dangers of cyberattacks, manipulation of information and foreign interference in elections.”

According to an internal memo obtained by AFP, Defence Minister Sébastien Lecornu urged on Feb. 20 for security measures against Russian threats of “sabotage and cyberattacks” to be strengthened, with the defense ministry being the main department concerned.

Share This Article