Hackers claiming allegiance to the Islamic State terror group took over a French TV network, TV5Monde, around 10pm local time on Wednesday night. They blacked out 11 channels and simultaneously took over the network’s website and social media accounts. The synchronized massive cyberattack continued on to Thursday. On the blacked-out channel screens, the hackers displayed a message directed at French President Hollande.
On the social media sites, the group wrote “I am IS” and with a banner by a group that called itself Cybercaliphate.
The network said a message written in three languages- French, Arabic and English- was then posted on one of its social media sites. The message, the network said, included threats to the network and “a glorification of Sharia.”
The attack is being called unprecedented because while ISIS has claimed complex hackings before, they never managed to manipulate something as large as a global television network.
By Thursday afternoon in France, the Paris-based TV station, which broadcasts their programs in more than 200 countries worldwide, was able to broadcast only pre-recorded programs and get one channel back up, but had regained control of its website, where the front page declared “TV5Monde has been hit in the heart.”
French officials wasted no time in saying that the attack was clearly the work of terrorists.
The network’s director general, Yves Bigot, said he was shaken when he saw the black screen across the network’s broadcasts “and when we discovered the sense of the message appearing on our social media and our websites, it both allowed us to understand what was happening and obviously worried us.”