French broadcaster TV5Monde hacked by Islamic State supporters
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A cyber attack by an "Islamist State armed group" knocked a French television network off the air on Wednesday night. TV5Monde said that 11 of its channels, websites and social media pages were hacked at around 10 p.m. local time.
The network's website featured a maintenance message as of early Thursday morning.
"We are not yet in a position to re-establish our broadcasting schedule nor to produce programmes” said the network’s director-general Yves Bigot, "our websites and social media sites are no longer under our control."
Television broadcasts are likely to take days to return to normal, “we can only broadcast pre-recorded programmes” added Bigot.
The hackers – claiming to belong to the Islamic State group – posted documents purportedly belonging to members of the French military and their families on TV5Monde’s Facebook, “Passports, identity cards and contracts” Bigot confirmed to RFI on Thursday.
Hackers have also published a number of claims on TV5Monde’s websites – in French, English and Arabic.
“TV5Monde has not faced previous threats” Bigot told RFI, “although it seems we had a cyber alert a few weeks ago, which could mean this attack has been a long time in the making.”
It’s an “unacceptable attack on the freedom of information and expression” said French Prime minister Manuel Valls voicing “total solidarity with the editorial staff”.
Jihadists have become adept at using the Internet to spread propaganda and briefly gained control of the US military’s Central command’s social media accounts in January and Newsweek magazine the following month.
TV5Monde broadcasts in more than 200 countries worldwide.