Certain German websites were defaced by a group of hackers on April Fools day. However, this act was no ordinary prank.
The hackers left messages on the defaced German websites in Arabic, and the message is quite clear:
Figure 1. Screenshot of defaced German website
Translated, the text reads as:
Algeria to the core #
With Palestine unjust or wronged
They also posted the same news on their Facebook page.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that this group of hackers called “Algeria to the core” defaced websites. Just recently, Australian, Thai and Israeli websites were defaced by the same group. This group’s members include people who go by the following online names:
- LaMiN3 DK
- Evil-Dz h4x0r
- Les Soldats de L’est
This group has been active for a while now. According to zone-h, their earliest recorded activity was back in August 2012, but note that not all defacement incidents are reported.
Why target specific countries?
In general, hackers deface websites for political reasons. This is oftentimes their way to send a message to a specific country, organization, or government. Algeria to the core, in particular, is a known supporter of the Palestinian movement, which explains the Israeli website defacement. They regularly defaced French websites, since France supports Israel and due to a long history of conflict between Algeria and France. The United States websites were likewise targeted for their support for Israel.
Fig. 2 Screenshot of defaced Israeli site
Fig. 3 Screenshot of defaced Frech site
Compared to the affected German site, this group used different images and audio recordings when they targeted Israeli and French sites. The delivered message, however, was consistent.
Other than political motive, defacing sites can also be considered a form of revenge. For example, several Thai websites were defaced as a move against the arrest of an Algerian cybercriminal last year in Thailand. Since then, Algeria to the core has regularly marred Thai websites.
Aside from the countries previously mentioned, Algeria to the core also defaced websites from Brazil, Mexico, Netherlands, Ukraine and Iran.
This string of incidents illustrates our prediction that Africa will be the next hub for cybercrime. As we argued, its fast Internet connection, coupled with an increase in Internet usage and lack of cybercrime laws make it the perfect place to stage their attacks. To know more about this, you may read the previous blog post Three Reasons Why Africa Will be the new Haven for Cybercriminals. In addition, you may also read our paper titled Africa: A New Safe Harbor for Cybercriminals.