Turkish hacktivists targeting the Netherlands: high noise, low impact


As a result of increased political tensions between The Netherlands and Turkey, a surge in activity from several Turkish hacker groups has been observed by Fox-IT.

Most activities observed thus far appear to be aimed at defacement and disruption of online Dutch infrastructure. Most of the methods and techniques used to achieve this goal are relatively simple and can be executed by an individual with basic knowledge and skills.

Targets of ‘disruption attacks’, in the form of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, appear to have been directly related to the conflict between Turkey and The Netherlands, with regards to the denial of two of Turkey’s ministers from visiting The Netherlands on March 11th 2017. Some of the targeted websites had difficulties defending against the DDoS attacks, such as stemwijzer.nl and kieskompas.nl, resulting in downtime, just one day before the Dutch elections.

List of Dutch DDoS targets

Defacements were seen across seemingly random Twitter accounts and Dutch websites, carried out by individuals which gathered on publically accessible hacking forums, where hackers were called to arms, using operation names such as Hollanda Operasyonu (translated: Holland Operation).

An example of a WordPress website (iwiweb.nl) defaced, using the recently disclosed WordPress content injection vulnerability, can be seen on the image below:

 

Most of these defacement attempts can be stopped by following basic security guidelines, such as regularly updating WordPress & other software installed on the webserver.

The full write-up describes several methods and techniques used by the Turkish hacker groups in order to compromise, deface or disrupt online Dutch infrastructure.

Download the write-up ‘Turkish Hacktivism targeting The Netherlands’