We Are Facing a ‘Cyberwar’ Says Cuban President Diaz-Canel in the Face of Attacks From ‘Anonymous’

Most of the attacks have been of the denial of service type, also known as DoS / DDoS. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 19 July 2021 — The cyber attacks by the activists group Anonymous have annoyed Cuban officialdom, which affirmed on Monday that these attacks have intensified [Spanish text] since last July 12, a day after the massive popular protests began on the island demanding a democratic opening and the end to Miguel Díaz-Canel’s government.

Anonymous, through its social networks, announced that it is developing “Operation Cuba” #OpCuba, in response, they detail, to the harsh police repression on the island against protesters who are asking for freedom for the Cuban people. Among the affected government sites are the presidency’s page, Cuban customs, and the most important official press media.

The portal of the Central Bank, the Supreme Court and the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television are also on the list of those attacked by Anonymous in recent days as are the websites of the Communist Party of Cuba, the Attorney General’s Office and the Office of the Comptroller General.

On the website of the University of Havana, the group of activists left messages such as: “We are Anonymous, we are legion, we do not forgive or forget. Wait for us. Freedom for Cuba, down with Raúl, down with Diaz-Canel.” The group explained that the messages were in response to violent police repressions against civilians who protested in the streets.

“If you support the communists and repressors, you are our enemy. This is only the beginning of what awaits you, you will not escape our hands, we are there within your system and we know everything you do, every key you press, pages that you search on the Internet, all your secrets will be revealed. Freedom for the people of Cuba and our brothers and sisters,” read another message left on the website of the Embassy of Spain in Cuba.

Most of the attacks have been of the denial of service type, also known as DoS / DDoS. Hackers have generated countless requests to each of the servers where the sites are hosted, until the processing capacity is exceeded. The portal ends up collapsing and Internet users can no longer access its content.

In its Twitter account, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced the attack against its digital site, but instead of solidarity, the majority of Internet users responded with mockery or questioning. “That is so they know how it feels when one is left without a voice on the internet, as you have done to us by blocking the internet for all these days,” replied a user, alluding to the cuts in the web browsing service that have been implemented since the protests of July 11.

“He who kills by the sword cannot be killed with the swipe of a hat,” joked another commentator who pointed to the state monopoly Etecsa as “the main attacker of Internet freedom in Cuba.” For this Internet user, “it was time for Anonymous to do something for Cubans, because we have suffered a lot and citizens are very unprotected.”

One of the censorship techniques most used by the Cuban government has been blocking independent news sites, but several hacks against critical portals have also been attributed to students of the University of Computer Science (UCI). It is in this center of higher studies the so-called Operation Truth* is developed, which counteracts, through different tactics, the media critical of the ruling party.

On the day 14ymedio debuted, the website was hacked and readers were instead redirected to a digital site dedicated to smearing the Cuban opposition. Numerous dissidents and independent journalists have also denounced identity theft on social media, theft of private information and other forms of cyber attacks in the last decade.

*Translator’s note: Years ago “Operation Truth” was led by Eliecer Avila who ultimately “changed sides” and joined the opposition.


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