The cyberattack was claimed by the infamous hacktivist collective Anonymous, which declared the attack on the airport’s website
Egypt’s Ministry of Civil Aviation has successfully stopped a cyberattack on the Cairo International Airport’s website, according to an official statement on Sunday.
The cyberattack was claimed by the infamous hacktivist collective Anonymous, which declared the attack on the airport’s website, as well as its server and mobile application, on its Telegram channel over the weekend.
Officials at the Cairo Airport Company shared news of the attack in a statement to the cabinet, explaining on Sunday, November 12th that it was able to counter the hack and had taken its website offline as a precautionary measure.
As of Monday morning, the website and application were available to users.
News of the hack comes on the heels of an alleged cyberattack on one of the country's largest payment networks. On Thursday, it was reported by several cybersecurity firms and citizens that e-payment giant Fawry was overtaken by a LockBit attack which claimed that it captured hundreds of users’ data, calling for an undisclosed ransom to be paid prior to the 28th of November.
Anonymous revealed that it attacked the website with an unyielding Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack – a cyberattack that utilizes a vast network of computers to flood a network with a massive amount of malicious traffic to overload the target system until it is unable to operate.
According to its Telegram post, the hack is the longest and most extensive attack on the airport’s system to date. Cyber threats watchdog HackManac reported the hack, sharing screenshots of the hacktivist’s Telegram post.
🇪🇬 Cairo International Airport is currently facing a DDoS attack by the Anonymous Collective.— HackManac (@H4ckManac) November 12, 2023
The group claims this has led to the shutdown of the Cairo Airport company app and the airport's site has been down for 20 hours, constituting the largest cyber attack on an Egyptian… pic.twitter.com/9Nq1QutiaF
The screenshots show the hacker group describing its attack, noting that the airport’s website had been down for 20 hours [post was shared on November 12th, 1 pm Cairo Time], and was targeting the airport’s email systems.
At 9 pm Cairo Time, HackManac shared a separate Telegram post in which the group stated that its attack on the airport was complete, adding that the [at the time] 25 hours of downtime had cost Cairo Airport Company “millions of dollars”.
During a call to one of Egypt’s evening talk shows, Cairo Airport’s head of technology Abdel Khalek Lotfy stated “Over the past period, the airport’s website has been under a number of individual ransomware attacks aimed at deleting some information from the website but our firewall and security measures were able to counter these attacks”.
However, the airport’s systems were not tampered with and were protected by “some of the most advanced international systems.”
In its cabinet statement, the aviation ministry explained that the airport company had begun its investigation to confirm the source of the attack and take legal action against the hacker.
It added that the company has affirmed that all services and data are safe and unaffected, as it utilizes the highest cybersecurity standards to ensure the protection of all data and information, including the names of restaurants, cafeterias, and free market companies.