Greek State Websites Disabled by New Cyberattack, Restored (Adds)

Αssociated press

(AP Photo, File)

ATHENS - A week after a Turkish hacking group got into key official Greek websites, the government was hit with another cyberattack on Jan. 24, this one briefly shutting down official pages of the Prime Minister, police, fire services and other ministries.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility although after the earlier break into government sites a Turkish group calling itself Anka Neferler Tim (Phoenix's Helmets) said it hacked in as a response to Greek “threats” against Turkey.

On their main website, the group wrote that the web hack "department" targets all websites that make bad or negative statements against Turkey which, ironically, is the provocateur in the Aegean and East Mediterranean, claiming Cypriot and Greek waters.

Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said early the distributed denial-of-service or DDoS attack “led to the malfunction of certain websites,” but that countermeasures worked without providing details about the technological tug o’ war.

Other ministries hit with the mass attack included those dealing with public order, interior, foreign affairs, and merchant marine but it wasn’t said how long they were shut down or if any services were affected.

The Turkish group got into the official webpages of the Greek Foreign and Finance ministries, the National Intelligence Service (EYP), the Athens Stock Exchange and the Parliament, Greek media reported, forcing the pages to be taken down.

The same group in June, 2019 said it was behind the hack attack of the then deputy sports minister Giorgos Vasiliadis, posting two photos on Vasiliadis' account, one of Constantinople’s Greek Church Hagia Sophia turned into a museum.

In March, 2019, despite constant reports that even the sites of major corporations and governments were being hit, the websites of most Greek politicians were not then secure, according to a survey conducted by UK company Comparitech.

The technology-research company surveyed 7,500 personal websites of politicians in 37 countries and found 71 percent of those in Greece lacked basic HTTPS encryption – used for secure communication over the Internet, with no indication whether they even use a VPN or encrypted sites such as Proton from Switzerland or private browsers such as from The Netherlands which offer some protection.

The company said that almost half of politicians in Greece have their own websites and that 70.89 percent –112 out of 158 – of these are not secure and open to hacking with intruders becoming so sophisticated they can breach firewalls and steal passwords and other sensitive information.

Websites of New Democracy politicians were the worst in terms of security, with 85.19 percent of them deemed insecure compared to 61.76 percent of websites belonging to politicians from the then-ruling Radical Left SYRIZA with no reports on whether measures had been taken to improve security by them.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)