Egypt: Al-Azhar website hacked
The prominent Sunni Muslim religious institution has become Egypt’s latest Internet victim after it was hacked early Sunday morning. Visitors to the website seeking information on Islam were surprised by the new homepage created by the hackers, who had replaced the original site with a new network that posted the name “sovalye-starturk” in its place.
According to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, who first reported the incident, the usual Al-Azhar writing had been replaced by this message from what officials are saying is a hotmail account. Further details are limited at this point, but highlights the ongoing difficulty of maintaining a website in Egypt.
The website is known across the Muslim world for its teaching of Islam’s principles, morals and beliefs. It is considered the primary official reference in which the entire Sunni Muslim world benefits from “in regards to guidance and valuable information,” the Brotherhood report stated.
Last month, Alexandria University had its website hacked by unknown assailants. The hacker left two complete files with information he or she gathered from the website, including details on the university’s financial happenings over the past three months, in arguably Egypt’s worst cyber attack in history.
One of the files was a message from the hacker themselves, which revealed the reasons behind the attack.
“I’ve done this … to show everyone that most of you are just a bunch of suites walking around doing nothing except making lots of cash and pimpin’ your cars, so honestly this is not about a personal attack or nothing of the sort more than an attack on the system and why we should drop asking for shiny certificates instead of employing the boys that know what they are doing,” the hackers message read.
The cyber hacker identified themselves simply as an Egyptian, saying “I do love Egypt, not the people … but Egypt is where I belong and is where I was born.”
Ironically, the hacker released the financial information from the past three months at the university. According to the hacker, the school has spent over trillion Egyptian pounds during this period.
The attacks have been questioned by analysts as possible new routes of activism in the country as a means of uncovering corrupt practices.
One activist, speaking to Bikya Masr anonymously after the Alexandria incident, said that people are not going to get upset at what this person did “because it showed how horrible the state of affairs in this country are becoming.”