The Presidency website was defaced in the first week of July 2018, and its office has not responded to requests for comment or issued a follow-up statement about the attack.
A group calling themselves Black TeamX claimed responsibility for the hack, modifying the website’s front page to display a message:
Hacked by Black Team. Sahara is Moroccan. And Morocco is ur Lord!
The Citizen reported that the message is about a land dispute in the Western Sahara, which South Africa and the ANC recognise as an independent region – and have accused Morocco of occupying.
After taking the website down after the attack, it was repaired and brought back online.
MyBroadband was able to establish that the Presidency website is operated by Absol Internet Business Solutions, and asked the company technical questions about the attack.
Absol chief executive Mac Anamourlis said the issue was being handled by the Presidency, however. This included feedback to the media.
“It would be inappropriate for us to comment while an official report is being compiled and reviewed by all stakeholders before being released to the public,” said Anamourlis.
MyBroadband asked the Presidency how its website was compromised, whether any sensitive information was affected as a result of the attack, and if it will try to track down the culprits.
The Presidency did not respond to requests for comment.
Denial of service
Following the defacing, a hacktivist who calls themselves “paladin” and goes by @VirusSec on Twitter launched a denial of service attack against the Presidency website on 19 July 2018.
According to the attacker, the denial of service was part of a protest against the lion bone trade.
Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa recently announced that 1‚500 lion skeletons may be exported from South Africa per year.
The same attacker also claimed responsibility for a denial of service attack against the Presidency’s website in August 2017 for allowing the sale of rhino horn and lion bones.
— paladin (@VirusSec) July 19, 2018