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Hackers launch fresh attacks on Bahrain websites

Manama, June 8, 2011

Hackers have launched a fresh series of attacks on government websites after the country was granted the right to stage the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.

Officials say cyber criminals in Iran and Saudi Arabia, with the support of local groups, have stepped up a campaign to spread anti-government propaganda.

The Northern Governorate website became the latest to be hacked yesterday less than 24 hours after the official government tourism website was targeted.

Pictures of wounded anti-government protesters were visible if users clicked on categories on the main page of either website.

The tourism site (www.bahraintourism.com) is now functioning normally, but the Northern Governorate site (www.northern.gov.bh) remains disabled.

Investigations showed that websites were hacked by the same user from an Internet Protocol (IP) address located in Saudi Arabia.

'This particular hacker is from Al Qatif in Saudi,' said an official from the Information Affairs Authority's (IAA) Publications and Press Directorate.

'It has come to our notice that hackers from Bahrain, Iran and Saudi Arabia are targeting our government's official websites and posting pictures or messages.'

Motor sport chiefs announced on Friday that Bahrain would be allowed to host its F1 race, postponed in March due to the unrest, on October 30.

The official said the aim of the hackers was to portray a bad image of Bahrain regionally and internationally at a time when it was trying to return to normal.

'These hackers have their servers in US, China, Russia, Europe and other countries which are being used for their illegal activities,' he said.

'It is like a union of hackers we are facing now who are trying hard to attack Bahrain's government websites.'

The official said residents who use social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace had a responsibility to avoid spreading propaganda.

He revealed that some people in Bahrain were sending e-mails to F1 drivers and companies asking them to boycott the race because of alleged human rights violations.

'Bahrain needs this race that will unite people together from all faiths and bring them closer,' he said.

'We should support the race rather than use these websites to spread false information.

'We will do our best to protect and monitor online content for the safety of all people.

'If an IP is detected within Bahrain then they would be tracked and could face legal action.'

Our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN) reported yesterday that the website Muntadha Bawabat Al Bahrain (Bahrain Gate Forum) was targeted by hackers.

A group calling itself the True Promise Team hacked the site, which sought to promote the nation's growth and development.

'This website content highlights positive news about Bahrain and was hacked for this particular reason,' said the official.

Cyber criminals with links to Iran have already targeted websites belonging to the Housing and Health Ministries, the Philippines Embassy, Al Hilal Group and parliament in the last two months.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | computers | Internet | IT | Hacking | cyber attacks | government websites |

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