Hackers target Bahrain airport, news sites to mark uprising
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Hackers said they had taken down the websites of Bahrain’s international airport, state news agency and chamber of commerce on Tuesday to mark the 12-year anniversary of an Arab Spring uprising in the small Gulf country.
A statement posted online by a group calling itself Al-Toufan, or “The Flood” in Arabic, claimed to have hacked the airport website, which was unavailable for at least a half hour in the middle of the day.
It also claimed to have taken down the websites of the state-run Bahrain News Agency, which was sporadically unavailable midday, and the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce, which was taken down in the afternoon before access was later restored.
The group posted images showing 504 Gateway Timeout Errors, saying the hacking was “in support of the revolution of our oppressed people of Bahrain.”
The same group appears to have hacked and changed articles on the website of Akhbar Al Khaleej, a pro-government newspaper in Bahrain. The newspaper’s website was still down Tuesday night.
“A number of Government agency websites have today been the target of malicious cyber-attacks,” the government said in a statement. “Government operations were unaffected by the attacks and work is ongoing to restore access to the targeted websites.”
It did not say who was behind the attacks.
Feb. 14, 2011, marked the first day of protests led by Bahrain’s Shiite majority against the Sunni monarchy. Similar pro-democracy uprisings led to the overthrow of long-ruling autocrats in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.
Bahrain quashed its uprising by force with the support of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but has continued to see sporadic unrest over the years.
Authorities have imprisoned Shiite activists, deported others, stripped hundreds of their citizenship and closed down a leading independent newspaper.
The same shadowy group of hackers targeted government websites during elections held in November that were boycotted by a banned Shiite opposition group and others.