'Anonymous' targets Zimbabwe websites amid Internet shutdown - TechCentral

‘Anonymous’ targets Zimbabwe websites amid Internet shutdown

Global hacker group Anonymous appears to be taking aim at government websites in Zimbabwe in protest at the government’s decision to block access to social media services and curtail access to the Internet amid protests in the troubled Southern African nation.

Posting on various message boards, a group claiming to be Anonymous said: “Greetings Zimbabwe, we are Anonymous. We have previously seen innocent people being killed in Zimbabwe. We have seen oppresion (sic) and tyranny. We have seen people being oppressed for fighting for freedom. We cannot tolerate that.”

It claimed to have taken down more than 72 Zimbabwean government-operated websites, though this could not be corroborated. “This is only a start. Your banking system will also fall soon. Zimbabwe governmet (sic), you have become an enemy of Anonymous! Your systems are in danger!”

It then posted a list of government websites that it is targeting. Attempts by TechCentral to access several of the sites listed were unsuccessful on Monday morning, while others, like the zim.gov.zw portal, loaded very slowly (possibly a function of the country’s poorly developed telecommunications infrastructure, or slow servers).

TechZim, a Zimbabwean technology news website, pointed out that many government websites are often slow or inaccessible. “It’s hard to know if they have been taken down for a fact because, even on a normal day, some of these government sites are inaccessible…”

Reports emerged last Tuesday that Zimbabwe’s government had moved to block citizens’ access to social media — and, in some instances, access to the Internet altogether — as violent protests spread across the country.

Fuel prices

The protests erupted after the Zimbabwean government hiked fuel prices to the highest in the world amid a continuing economic crunch and soaring prices.

Many users were unable to access Facebook and the popular Facebook-owned instant messaging platform WhatsApp. Twitter and Instagram were also reportedly affected.

Subsequent reports suggested that some service providers had suspended Internet access entirely on instruction from the government.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that Zimbabwean lawyers a rights group were going to court to challenge the government’s shutdown of the Internet.  — (c) 2019 NewsCentral Media

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