HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS in Zimbabwe were hit by cyber attacks during and after the African country's election last Thursday, leading to suspicions of government suppression of election monitoring.
Techweek Europe reported the attacks on Tuesday, saying that some were obviously targeted while other disruptions might have been merely collateral damage.
Following the election, hosting providers in the country were hit by two sophisticated distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks over the weekend that took many websites that had been reporting voting results offline. Apparently the organisations hit included Fair Trade Africa, Privacy International and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum, which also told Techweek Europe that it suspected it had been targeted by a hacking attack earlier last week.
Citizens of Zimbabwe had set up a number of human rights and political websites after the last election in 2008, in reaction to reports of vote rigging, threats, violence and government repression then. Some of those websites apparently were hacked or taken offline by DDoS attacks prior to, during and after this election.
One of the hosting firms assailed by the DDoS attacks was Greennet, an ethical hosting company and internet service provider (ISP), which was hit by a powerful 100Gbps attack that used DNS reflection rather than an unsophisticated botnet to attempt to overwhelm its servers. A DNS reflection attack spoofs the target's IP address(es) in DNS requests, causing DNS servers to amplify the volume of data focused on the datacentre under attack.
Some of Greennet's customer websites were still down this week, after having been under attack since last Thursday.
Zimbabwe's kleptocratic leader Robert Mugabe and his government were reelected by a large majority, according to the official election results. µ