At about 3pm on Tuesday the ANC Youth League’s website was hacked. The hack came just before a radio presentation from Youth League president Julius Malema on Metro FM Drive, who was coincidentally also the target of the hack.
The news of the hack was broken on Twitter with users posting snippets of the hacker’s message which was a supposed press release from Malema. The fake press release cited Malema’s resignation from the Youth League and listed various “essential” reasons behind his resignation.
The hacker posted the following statement:
From our investigation, it appears that the hacker gained administrative access to the Joomla site, giving him free reign over it. The hacker then went on to expose the site’s directory structure, systematically deleting core config files (see screenshot below) before — we suspect — a backup was implemented.
t is still unclear as to how the hacker gained access to the admin console. As of yet, the ANCYL have not commented on the matter. Ancyl.org.za has an estimated value of US$ 21 147 and receives about 1 102 page views per day. The site has Google PageRank of five and ranked no. 464 861 in the world, based on its Alexa traffic ranking. The site’s domain is currently hosted by a South African-based hosting company, Internet Solutions.
Statistically the site is not high in ranking and could been seen as insignificant for a hack but politically it may have been a target.
After the initial posting, the site was then opened completely. For those familiar with web development, the entire index to the site was revealed, leaving the ANCYL’s site completely bare to attack.
This was then fixed, but the site was still encountering errors, as seen below.
A look into the source code at the time of attack revealed that ‘Hacker Warbird’ took credit for the hack.
At the time of writing, no information could be found about this hacker.
This attack comes on the back of the hacktivism group Anonymous’ message to South African, urging citizens to rise up. It begs the question of whether South Africa has now entered into the hacktivism era? Is this part of an online political protest and will these become more commonplace? Perhaps it’s a once off in anticipation for April 1st.