French broadcaster TV5Monde is working to regain control over its 11 channels and websites after an “extremely powerful” cyber attack claimed by the supporters of the Islamic State, its director said.
The attack began around 10 pm local time on Wednesday, said Yves Bigot in an interview on RTL radio, when the hackers knocked out the TV channels and posted material on the broadcaster's Facebook and Twitter feeds.
“We’ve been able to restore broadcast of one signal on across all of our channels, but cannot send out pre-recorded broadcasts nor restart the production of our news shows,” he told RTL.
The broadcaster was still trying to figure out how the hackers breached its firewalls, and was working with police and national security authorities.
According to French news agency AFP, the hackers posted documents on TV5Monde’s Facebook page purporting to be the identity cards of relatives of French soldiers involved in anti-Islamic State operations, and threats against the troops.
The message on the TV5 Monde website read in part “I am IS” with a banner by a group that called itself Cybercaliphate.
The group accused French president, Francois Hollande, of making a "great mistake" by sending the French military "to serve sneaky American kuffar in a footless war with our brothers".
"That's why Parisians received January "gifts" in Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket from our brothers mujahideen Cheriffe and Said Kuashi and Amedi Coulibaly," said a message from the hackers on the broadcaster's Facebook page.
France is part of the international coalition fighting Islamic State insurgents in Iraq.
Culture and Communications Minister Fleur Pellerin expressed her support of the broadcaster and condemned the hack as “a true terrorist act.”
TV5Monde is broadcast in over 200 countries globally.
The Islamic extremist group has claimed complex hackings before but the seizure of the French network appeared to be a new step in its information warfare tactics.