EXCLUSIVE: Why Anonymous 'hacked' the SABC, Gupta websites

2016-06-17 15:35 - Gareth van Zyl, Fin24
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Anonymous is a "hacker-activist" network that has claimed online attacks on sites ranging from the Vatican to Los Angeles Police Canine Association. (Yoshikazu Tsuno, AFP)

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Johannesburg - Hacktivists Anonymous Africa have shed more light on why they targeted websites belonging to the SABC and Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments this week.

Both the public broadcaster and Oakbay Investments confirmed to Fin24 this week that their websites suffered cyber attacks.

On Sunday, SABC websites - ranging from the broadcaster’s main online news portal to its 5FM site - went on the blink for several hours amid threats from Anonymous Africa on Twitter.

READ: SABC confirms hack attack on its websites

Then on Wednesday, Oakbay linked companies that include broadcaster ANN7, newspaper The New Age and IT firm Sahara experienced downtime on their websites. On the same day, the Oakbay Investments and Oakbay Resources and Energy websites also went down as Anonymous Africa threatened attacks against the Gupta-owned companies.

READ: Hack attack threat for Gupta sites

Other alleged website victims of Anonymous Africa this week have included political parties the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Zanu-PF.

Most of these attacks have taken the form of ‘Distributed Denial of Service’ attacks, which involves flooding a website server with thousands of requests.

“We target corrupt and/or racist individuals, corporations and parties,” Anonymous Africa told Fin24 in an exclusive interview.

“In every one of these cases, we feel justice has gone unanswered, and while we are not justice, we are a very loud voice complaining about the lack of justice,” the group said.

The group then told Fin24 that they targeted the SABC because of the broadcaster’s alleged “return to Apartheid era censorship” while it targeted the EFF because of their alleged “Nazi” or “nationalist socialist rhetoric and politicising racism.”

“With the Guptas, do we really have to explain ourselves there? They are the epitome of corruption,” Anonymous Africa told Fin24.

Anonymous Africa said it targeted Oakbay linked websites later on Wednesday evening again after The New Age published an article under the headline ‘Hackers fail to shutdown Oakbay websites’.

“They got extra attention from us for lying about us in an article they wrote afterwards. We may be cowards hiding behind our keyboards but we do not lie,” Anonymous Africa said.

Meanwhile, the Anonymous Africa group, which claims links to the global network of Anonymous hacktivists, said all its members are all African born, even though some of them may live outside of the continent.

“Both, inside and outside, but all of us are Africans by birth. We have Shona working with Ndebele, English with Afrikaans,” the group said.

The group further stressed that its purpose is primarily that of protest.

“We want to clarify, we are hacktivists, not hackers,” the group told Fin24.

“We are not intruding onto other people's systems, we are forming mass protests to bring a lot of attention, we do know of other Anon groups going deeper, but our role is that of peaceful, non-destructive protest.  

“If in the all the noise we are creating, others are able to slip in and expose sensitive data, well, it is not our job to stop them,” the group added.

The cyber attacks this week elicited strong words from the the SABC.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago told Fin24 on Sunday that “cowards” carried out the attacks and that they hit a “national key point” by targeting SABC websites.

Meanwhile, Oakbay Investments, in a statement on Wednesday, said at the time that it had regained “control” of its websites amid the attacks.

READ: Gupta-owned Oakbay responds to hacker attacks

Read more about: oakbay  |  sabc