Hackers take aim at Namibia

09 October 2020 | Local News

ELLANIE SMIT



WINDHOEK

A fresh cyber-attack has been launched against Namibia, with a group claiming to have hacked into the government’s portal, taking down more than 25 websites.

According to the group that call themselves Anonymous and have launched an internet campaign called OpFunKill, the motive behind the attack is because Canadian company Reconnaissance Energy Africa (Recon Africa) has been granted permission to drill for oil and gas in the Okavango basin.

“Government portal of Namibia is #offline due to greed and allowing the destruction of the environment and wildlife. Warnings were given,” the group tweeted.

The executive director in the Office of the Prime Minister, I-Ben Nashandi, confirmed that government websites were offline and said technicians were working on the problem.

“They cannot currently say whether it was hacked or if it is the machine that is broken,” he said.

Fracking fears

Recon Africa recently came under fire over its plans for drilling in Namibia, close to the border with Botswana.

Allegations surfaced that Recon Africa lacks the required documentation and that the company plans to carry out hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking.

The mines ministry dismissed reports of fracking activities in the Kavango Region that could threaten the Okavango ecosystem.

It said the environmental clearance certificate issued by the environment ministry to Recon Africa was for the drilling of two test wells for gathering data.

Previous attack

This is not the first time these hackers have launched a cyber-attack on Namibia.

In 2014, they threatened the government for allowing American hunting organisation Dallas Safari Club to auction the opportunity to kill a black rhino in the Mangetti National Park.

The hackers gained access to a range of Namibian websites and stole content, which they moved to different places on the internet.

In a video statement published on the internet, the group threatened the Namibian government by saying: “Did we not warn you Namibia? Surrender Namibian government and media of all kinds. We are Team Defiant a powerful Anonymous collective. We have dropped NBC, Parliament, President websites along with your defence departments.” (sic)

The message continued: “We warned you multiple times, now the warnings stop. Your options have run out or more of this will continue.”

At the time, they hacked The Namibian newspaper, Just Holidays, a hunting safari organisation and the government’s portal with threats of more to come.

In the past, the group Anonymous has carried out a series of publicised stunts where they attack governments, religious and multinational companies’ websites.

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