Nassau, Bahamas — The Bahamas ministry of tourism said on Friday that several government websites, including its own, were hacked on Wednesday morning by members of a Tunisian Islamist activist group called the Fallaga Team.
In a statement, the ministry said all defaced sections of the hacked websites were quickly removed and “a corrected version redeployed and all affected websites are now back to normal modes of operation”.
“As a short-term strategy and in an abundance of caution, all government websites have been checked for possible breaches, safeguarded and reinforced against potential vulnerabilities by the implementation of software patching,” the statement said.
“As a long-term strategy and being cognizant of the fact that we live in an era where cyberterrorism poses clear and present dangers to our national security, the government of The Bahamas will convene a meeting of industry experts to review the entire government-owned, Internet related infrastructure with a view to determining what, if any, additional measures can be taken to deliver the strongest possible cyber security protocol.
“It is the intent of the government to cause to be established a permanent public/private sector committee that will meet regularly, conduct regular audits of public Internet infrastructure and advise the government on matters of cyber security so as to inform public policy going forward.”
The statement said bahamas.com and bahamasfilm.com were among the websites hacked.
According to its Twitter page, Fallaga Team has hacked Tunisia, Israeli and French websites and has 60 members.
A 19-year-old member of the team told Vice.com in 2013 that their goal is to “spread the word of Islam, to help or Muslim brothers wherever they may be, and to destroy Israel.”
Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe said on Friday that such hacks can “cause serious disruptions to government’s operations, to national trade and commerce and can sometimes cause serious harm to a country’s international reputation”.
“This matter has been given serious attention and we will spare no effort in protecting and safeguarding these valuable assets and as demonstrated this morning, we are ready with an immediate fix as we did yesterday morning,” he said.
Prime Minister Perry Christie made the revelation on Wednesday. He said the incident has “enormous national security implications”.
The House of Assembly did not meet as planned Friday afternoon as Christie said an emergency meeting was taking place to address the hacking issue.