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Saudi group hacks government websites 'as a cyber-security warning'

The group Cyber of Emotion announced the attack on its Twitter account [Twitter]

Date of publication: 17 August, 2015

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A Saudi Arabian group has hacked at least 23 government websites, saying it was to draw attention to the kingdom's vulnerability to cyber-attack.

At least 23 Saudi Arabian government websites have been hacked within a two-hour period.

The massive attack was carried out by a Saudi Arabian hacker group named "Cyber of Emotion", purportedly to highlight the websites' vulnerability to potentially malicious cyber-attack.

"After the government websites ignored our warnings about a possible attack, the group announces today that it has targeted poorly-protected government websites," the group announced on its Twitter account on Saturday night.

The group directed those who visited the websites, which mostly served provincial areas, to a page with the message: "We do not want to harm the site. Had it been hacked by enemies, your personal information, emails and registration data would have been compromised," al-Jazeera reported.

The websites appeared to be working normally a few hours after the attack.

A target for cyber-attacks

The same group hacked the Ministry of Justice's twitter account last year.

The Israeli cyber-security company ClearSky announced last month it had detected a wave of cyber-attacks it believed came from Iran, at least 200 of which were directed against Saudi Arabia.

In 2013, Saudi Arabia announced many of its official websites had been put offline by a major cyber-attack from abroad.

In 2012, Saudi Aramco, the kingdom's national oil and gas company, suffered what has been described as the worst hack in history as 35,000 of its computers were partially or totally wiped after an employee opened a scam email and clicked on a malicious link.

The company's oil production was reportedly unaffected, but the office internet and telephones, supplies, shipping and contracts shut down.

It is not known if the hackers were ever identified or caught.

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