DISASTER MANAGEMENT

African Country Eritrea Thwarts Massive Cyber Attack On Independence Day

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Northeast African country Eritrea revealed over the weekend that it had successfully repelled a significant cyber attack targeting its internet systems on May 24, during the nation’s Independence Day celebrations. The government confirmed that defensive measures were promptly deployed, ensuring that the network remained operational without interruption. While the attackers’ identities remain undisclosed, the Eritrean government suggested it was well aware of those responsible.

Eritrea, which gained independence over 30 years ago from Ethiopia following a brutal conflict, has been under the leadership of President Isaias Afwerki since. The country is highly militarized and is among the least developed globally. The government’s Ministry of Information hinted that more details about the cyber attack would be revealed soon.

Cybersecurity experts note that Africa is highly vulnerable to cyberattacks, though assaults of this magnitude on sovereign systems are unusual. The attack on Eritrea could represent an instance of cyber warfare, possibly instigated by hacktivists aiming to challenge President Afwerki’s regime. The Eritrean diaspora has increasingly voiced dissent, criticizing the lack of promised freedoms, the absence of a free press, and indefinite military conscription, leading to worldwide protests against the dictatorship.

The attack comes amidst a backdrop of rare hacktivist activities in Africa. Notable examples include the Ghosts of Palestine’s cyber attacks on Israeli systems and a 2010 attack on Uganda’s State House website. These incidents underscore a growing threat from hacktivists, which experts say African governments and companies must address by improving cybersecurity education and resilience.

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