The hacking group Anonymous has claimed responsibility for a massive cyberattack on Turkish internet servers over the past week, saying it will continue its assault if Turkey “doesn’t stop supporting” Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
Turkish servers suffered one of the most intense cyberattacks ever seen in the country over the last week, according to an internet management body.
Internet experts said it was not clear who was behind the attacks that ran from December 14 to 21. But Nic.tr, a non-government body that administers addresses for websites using the “.tr” domain, including ministries, the military, banks and many commercial sites, said they originated from “organised sources” outside Turkey.
The attacks took 400,000 websites offline and were only halted when Turkey stopped foreign internet traffic to the “.tr” domain.
Turkish media outlets have suggested a flood of traffic to servers handling hundreds of thousands of websites could be coming from Russia. They cited Turkey’s soured relations with Moscow after the downing of a Russian warplane last month on the Syrian border.
But Anonymous posted a video on YouTube over the weekend, in which it said it was attacking the country’s internet.
In the video, which has since been taken down, a voice said: “As many of you have heard, Turkey is supporting Daesh (Isil) by buying oil from them and hospitalising their fighters.”
“We won’t accept that (President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan, the leader of Turkey, will help Isis (Isil) any longer. The news media has already stated that Turkey’s internet has been the victim of massive DDoS attacks.”
“Dear Government of Turkey, if you don’t stop supporting Isis, we will continue attacking your internet, your root DNS, your banks and take your government sites down.”
“After the root DNS we will start to hit your airports, military assets and private state connections. We will destroy your critical banking infrastructure.”
“Stop this insanity now, Turkey. Your fate is in your hands.”
Some critics, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, accuse Turkey of supporting Isil militants, something the government denies.
The disruptive traffic, known as a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks – in which thousands of computers targeted at specific Internet targets – resulted in web speeds plummeting at some sites, Nic.tr said.
“While both the size and duration of the attack are notable, neither is unheard of. We don’t have enough information to start speculating on whether this is related to specific countries or which kind of group or single individual may be behind it,” said Artturi Lehtio of Finland-based internet security company F-secure.
It is not the first time that Turkish websites have come under attack. The so-called Syrian Electronic Army, hackers loyal to the Syrian government, said earlier this year it had successfully broken into government e-mail accounts.