Earlier this month, the French television network TV5Monde was forced to broadcast only pre-recorded programs after an “unprecedented” hack by self-proclaimed Islamic State militants, who also hijacked its websites and social networks.
As we blogged about on April 15, ISIS followers are being recruited not only for their killing skills but their cyber ones as well. TV5Monde, whose programs are broadcast in more than 200 countries worldwide, proclaimed that they were the target of a cyberattack that is “unprecedented for us and unprecedented in the history of television.
The hackers took control of the station and its social media operations, blacking out the TV channels and posting documents on its Facebook page purporting to be the identity cards and CVs of relatives of French soldiers involved in anti-IS operations, along with threats against the troops. The defense ministry in Paris said it was working to verify whether the documents were genuine.
“Soldiers of France, stay away from the Islamic State! You have the chance to save your families, take advantage of it,” read one message on TV5Monde‘s Facebook page.
TV5Monde regained control of its social networks by 2:00 am Thursday but television broadcasts took hours and in some cases days, to return to normal.
France is part of a US-led military coalition carrying out air strikes against IS in Iraq and Syria, where the group has seized swathes of territory and declared an Islamic “caliphate”.
Close to 1,500 French nationals have left France to join the militants’ ranks in Iraq and Syria, where they represent almost half the number of European fighters present, according to a report released Wednesday by the French Senate.