France Hit With Intense Cyberattacks Ahead of Olympics

France Hit With Surge of Cyberattacks: What You Need to Know
French government agencies face unprecedented cyberattacks, potentially linked to pro-Russian hacker groups. Security measures implemented as Olympics approach.

France Hit With Intense Cyberattacks Ahead of Olympics

In the lead-up to the Paris Olympics, multiple French government institutions have faced a barrage of cyberattacks described as "unprecedented" in their intensity. The prime minister's office confirmed the attacks but declined to provide specifics about the targeted agencies.

The timing of these attacks has raised concerns, with a French defense adviser recently warning that both the Olympics and upcoming European Parliament elections could be major targets for cyber interference.

Who's behind the France cyberattacks?

While the French government has not officially attributed the attacks to Russia, the country's support for Ukraine makes it a prime suspect.  Security sources have told AFP that the attacks "are not currently attributable to Russia."

Several hacker groups have taken to Telegram to claim responsibility. One such group, Anonymous Sudan, claims to have launched a massive DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack designed to overwhelm French government websites and infrastructure. "We have conducted a massive cyberattack... the damage will be widespread," the group declared.

France cyberattacks: A history of Anonymous Sudan

Anonymous Sudan is a well-established hacker group that has targeted websites in Sweden, Denmark, and Israel over the past year. The group is purportedly based in Sudan and often targets countries or entities it sees as anti-Muslim. There are indications that the group may have pro-Russian sympathies.

DDoS attacks, like the one Anonymous Sudan boasts of, overwhelm target systems with floods of requests, making them inaccessible to legitimate users.

France cyberattacks and the Olympics

The timing of these escalating cybersecurity threats is a major concern ahead of the Paris Olympics. Last month, France's defense minister, Sebastien Lecornu,  issued an internal ministry note highlighting the increased risk of Russian "sabotage and cyberattack." He specifically named his ministry as a high-priority target.

How France is responding to the cyberattacks

The prime minister's office affirmed that a "crisis cell has been activated to deploy countermeasures." The impact of the attacks has reportedly been reduced, with most services and access to government websites now restored. France's cybersecurity agency ANSSI is working to filter the attacks and bolster defenses.

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