Turkey is seeing the divisions that led to the failed coup move into the virtual arena with an outbreak of cyberattacks this week, Israeli cybersecurity company Cytegic said.
Dan Pastor, the company’s head of intelligence, warned that financial criminals and national cyber warriors often exploit periods when officials are preoccupied with major incidents to launch assaults. Because Turkish political activists operate energetically on the internet, this threat would apply there, Pastor said by phone.
“In the past, physical conflicts — specifically political related ones — were subject to a cyber aftermath,” an e-mailed Cytegic report said. In June, bombings in Turkey triggered online conflicts and attacks, including an Anonymous retaliation against Islamic State, which the Turkish government blamed for the deadly assault on the international airport in Istanbul.
Awareness of this phenomenon can allow governments and companies to take pre-emptive steps, Pastor said.
“In the few days following an actual event, we see an increase in activity as anonymous political activists or major regional hacktivists start to get organized,” he said. “In Turkey, we are now seeing attacks on Twitter accounts belonging to known hacktivists. There is an undercurrent on social media that follows previous patterns.”