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Dutch bank SNS Bank hit by cyberattack as Anonymous Sudan expandstarget scope

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SNS Bank, a prominent Dutch retail bank catering to individual customers and small to medium-sized enterprises in the Netherlands, recently (12th of July) fell victim to a cyberattack. The bank’s website and application were rendered inaccessible, leaving customers unable to access their financial services. The attack has been attributed to Anonymous Sudan, a hacktivist group known for their religious and political motivations.

Anonymous Sudan first gained attention in January 2023 when they initiated religiously motivated denial-of-service attacks against various Western countries. Their actions were in response to the controversial actions of far-right activist Rasmus Paludan, who burned a copy of the Quran in Sweden and vowed to continue doing so until Sweden joined NATO. In solidarity with the attacks in Sweden, the hacktivist group Killnet welcomed Anonymous Sudan as an official member, enhancing their reach and influence within the global hacking community.

Since then, Anonymous Sudan has expanded its operations, targeting different countries and organizations. In March 2023, they launched a multi-day campaign against medical facilities, universities, and airports in France, triggered by a cartoon depiction of the prophet Muhammad. During this period, the group also claimed responsibility for hacking several airlines and payment providers, leaking sensitive data and offering it for sale.

Anonymous Sudan’s activities continued to spread across the globe. In April 2023, they focused on Israel, supporting pro-Palestinian hacktivists in their operations. They then joined forces with other pro-Muslim hacktivist groups in Australia, targeting the country under the #OpAustralia campaign. In another move, they declared India as a target, motivated by a misperceived Islamic cause. By May 2023, the group turned their attention to the United States, protesting potential interference in the Sudanese conflict.

In a concerning development, Anonymous Sudan began extorting victims in June 2023. Employing Telegram messages, they demanded millions of dollars while simultaneously launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to disrupt their targets. High-profile companies such as Microsoft acknowledged the impact of the attacks, with disruptions affecting popular services like Outlook, Teams, and OneDrive for Business.

Anonymous Sudan’s cyberattacks are characterized by web-based DDoS attacks, incorporating alternating waves of UDP and SYN floods. These attacks originate from tens of thousands of unique source IP addresses, generating UDP traffic of up to 600Gbps and floods of HTTPS requests reaching several million RPS. To evade detection, the group employs public cloud server infrastructure to generate attack traffic and utilizes free and open proxy infrastructures to obfuscate the source of their operations.

The SNS Bank cyberattack serves as a reminder of the evolving threat landscape and the need for robust cybersecurity measures. Financial institutions and organizations around the world must remain vigilant to safeguard their systems and customer data from increasingly sophisticated cyber threats perpetrated by groups like Anonymous Sudan.

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