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Saudi govt sites hit in co-ordinated cyber attacks

DDoS, SQL injection attacks carried out by KSA Anonymous affiliate

Saudi govt sites hit in co-ordinated cyber attacks
Motives for the attack are not clear.

A number of Saudi government and company websites have been targeted with cyber attacks over the weekend in a concerted campaign named #OpSaudi by its perpetrators, a New York Times blog site reported.

According to bits.blogs.nytimes.com, the government sites include the Saudi Ministry of Finance, General Intelligence Presidency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Directorate General of Passports, and provincial sites such as those for Mecca and Jeddah.

The method of attack was mainly by distributed denial of service (DDoS), where a Web server is overwhelmed by a co-ordinated request for resources from multiple points of origin, resulting in the effective disabling of the websites it hosts. In other attacks, the group - which claims to be affiliated to the broad cyber collective Anonymous - used a SQL injection, which directly attacks software vulnerabilities in order to dump a database to a remote source.

The motive for the attacks is unclear. A Saudi Anonymous Twitter account said (sic): "We are Saudi Anonymous, we are #Anonymous. We are the next generation of Saudis, we are not stupid, we don't fear anyone or anything #ExpectUs #opsaudi. Nothing Behind [sic] my Control."

Saudi telecom regulator the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has previously warned of the use of some online services such as Skype as unregulated activities, and has made attempts to monitor or block encrypted data communication.

Last week a US hacker claimed he had been contacted by a representative of Saudi operator Mobily, who asked for his help in the building of data monitoring solutions. Mobily subsequently denied making the approach and a Reuters report revealed that the hacker had proved reluctant to part with copies of the alleged emails.

Mobily was among those companies attacked by Saudi Anonymous.

On Thursday, the chief of the Saudi religious police told citizens that those who used Twitter had "lost this world and his afterlife".

The New York Times' blog site reported that Twitter included posts claiming the attacks were in retaliation for an unconfirmed rape and murder last week. Some online reports had attributed the murder to the actions of a Saudi prince.

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