Greek and Turkish hackers trade retaliatory cyberattacks

Brazen cyberattacks are straining relations between Greece and Turkey, two nations with a considerable shared past and history of tense ties, with Greek experts sounding the alarm and warning of further attacks, according to a report by Deutsche Welle (DW) on Sunday.

According to the report, the Greek Foreign Ministry’s reaction on Thursday appeared almost routine. “Cyberattacks are being neutralized immediately by the responsible authorities. At no time has the Ministry’s website been disabled,” the message said.

Reminding that the day before, the Turkish hacker group Akıncılar (Raiders) had targeted the Greek foreign ministry’s website as well as publishing a video documenting their action, the report said that previously, ANA, the Greek news agency’s website, had been hacked. Athens journalists’ union ESIEA strongly condemned the cyberattack and also declared its solidarity with Turkish journalists fighting for press freedom in the neighboring country.

The Turkish hackers said on the Skai television station that the cyberattacks were a response to Athens’ refusal to hand over Turkish officers who fled to Greece in July 2016 in the wake of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s crackdown on numerous segments of society following a controversial coup attempt. “We are working against forces that threaten our national unity. The attacks will continue as long as Greece maintains its current position,” said a member of the hacker group.

In Athens, rumors abound about the perpetrators’ identity. “I don’t think they’re ordinary citizens, but agents of the Turkish state. That is quite clear,” says Angelos Syrigos, a political scientist and former secretary general of the Interior Ministry.

“We know Turkey has a strong cyber army. Greece should finally start investing in its own cybersecurity,” IT security consultant Kostas Vavoussis told the Antenna TV station. Politicians have so far refrained from commenting, and experts fear the cyberattacks will continue.

On Thursday a prompt counterattack was alleged to have taken place. Greek hackers from Anonymous attacked Türk Telekom servers and paralyzed the 24TV Live website for several hours. The Greek hackers said the attacks would continue as Turkish elections approach.

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