Dozens of Venezuelan government websites hit by cyberattack
Hackers in Venezuela have attacked numerous government websites in a show of support for a recent armed rebel assault on a military base, which was foiled by the country’s army.
A group calling itself “The Binary Guardians” launched the cyberattack against nearly 40 state websites on Monday and posted messages appearing to support the rebel group’s attack against the army base a day earlier in the central city of Valencia, Reuters reported.
A message on the main government site, the report said, made reference to “Operation David,” which was also the codename of the weekend attack, according to Venezuelan press reports.
“Our intention is to give hope to people that no matter how strong the enemy seems, there is strength in unity,” the group said in an “email interview” as quoted in the report, adding that the government sites were surprisingly easy to break into.
The Caracas government said it had foiled the Sunday assault in Valencia, which was conducted by a group of 20 armed civilians led by a military deserter. Two of the attackers were killed, one was injured and seven were arrested.
President Nicolas Maduro said a manhunt was underway for 10 men who escaped with weapons after the assault.
Among the web pages that came under attack were those of the Supreme Court and the legislature and the the National Electoral Council (CNE), which held the July 31 vote on the formation of the powerful Constituent Assembly.
The new assembly has power to rewrite the constitution, rearrange state institutions and even allow the president to rule by decree.
Meanwhile, thousands of supporters of Maduro marched in Caracas, demanding an end to months of violent opposition protests and unrest across the country.
“More than anything, this march is a call for peace,” a pro-Maduro activist told state television.
The demonstrators crowded the streets across from Venezuela’s congressional complex, where the newly-established constituent assembly will hold its sessions.
They chanted in support of the assembly and called for an end to over four months of protests organized by the Latin American country’s US-backed opposition as well as the ensuing unrest, in which more than 120 people have died.
The Venezuelan president has referred to the incident at the army base as a “terrorist attack” by foreign-backed “mercenaries,” congratulating the army for its “immediate reaction” in suppressing the assault in the early hours of Sunday.
According to Maduro, the assailants had been backed by opposition leaders based in the US and neighboring Columbia, and that those arrested were civilians in military uniform as well as a first lieutenant that had deserted the army.
‘US bent on seizing Venezuelan oil wealth’
Meanwhile, Bolivian President Evo Morales accused Washington of waging an annoying intervention in Venezuela aimed at seizing its oil wealth during a Monday address marking an armed forces celebration in Achacachi.
Referring to the US as “the empire,” Morales insisted that the US was pursuing a “policy of revenge” in the oil-rich Central American nation.
“Venezuela is a strategic link and this link has the largest amount of oil in the geopolitical world and oil energy is what the empire seeks, first to overthrow it, then dominate it and then seize Venezuelan oil,” he said.