Bahrain’s E-Visa Service Hacked by Al-Toufan Group
Bahrain’s e-visa service, which allows foreigners to apply for visas online, was hacked by a cybercriminal group called Al-Toufan on Monday, December 18, 2023.
The group claimed responsibility for the attack on its dark web portal, and said it was part of its campaign against Bahrain and other countries that have normalized relations with Israel.
The hackers defaced the e-visa website with a message that read: “Hacked by Al-Toufan. In stand with our steadfast Palestinian people in Gaza Strip in their brave and honorable resistance, ALTOUFAN TEAM targets companies normalized with the Zionist entity.” The message also included images of Palestinian flags and rockets.
The e-visa service was temporarily suspended after the attack, and the authorities said they were working to restore it as soon as possible. They also assured the public that no personal data or information of the applicants was compromised or leaked by the hackers.
The cyberattack on the e-visa service was the latest in a series of attacks by Al-Toufan, which has targeted various Bahraini government and private entities in recent weeks, including the airport, the national airline, the foreign ministry, and the information ministry. The group has also claimed attacks on other countries in the region, such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Oman.
Al-Toufan, which means “the storm” in Arabic, is a new and mysterious cybercriminal group that emerged in November 2023. It claims to be a pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli group, and says it is motivated by the Israeli military offensive in Gaza in October 2023, which killed more than 21,000 people, mostly civilians. The group says it is seeking revenge and resistance, and vows to continue its cyberattacks until the “liberation of Palestine”.
The cyberattacks by Al-Toufan have raised concerns and questions about the security and stability of the region, especially in the wake of the Abraham Accords, which normalized diplomatic ties between Israel and several Arab countries, including Bahrain, in 2020.
The attacks have also exposed the vulnerabilities and challenges faced by the governments and businesses in dealing with the growing and evolving cyber threats.