The official website of Banco de España (Bank of Spain), which is the central bank of the country, was hit by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on Sunday. The attack potentially disrupted the website’s operations and it became inaccessible at the beginning of the week. The attack, reportedly, has been claimed by the notorious hackers collective Anonymous Catalonia.
According to reports, the attack was launched on Sunday and it continued until Monday. It was revealed by Anonymous Catalonia that the attack was part of its #OpCatalonia campaign. It is basically a campaign initiated to protest the detention of Catalan political leaders to repel the region’s struggle for independence that started in 2017.
The hacktivist group utilized the ‘TangoDown’ hashtag, which it frequently uses to post on Twitter, to announce that a DDoS attack was successfully launched. The group also posted a proof that showed that the server hosting the central bank of Spain’s website was down around the globe.
La pàgina web del Banco de España ha caigut.https://t.co/f9vo0OFx26#OpCatalonia #TangoDown pic.twitter.com/yd0JyP1YKt
— Аnonymous Catalonia (@anoncatalonia) August 26, 2018
According to the bank’s spokesperson, the attack couldn’t affect the services or communications of the bank with other institutions including the European Central Bank. In an interview, the spokesperson stated that:
“It is a denial of service attack that intermittently affects access to our website, but it has had no effect on the normal functioning of the entity.”
Although the website remained down throughout Monday and until Tuesday afternoon but it wasn’t clarified by the authorities whether it was down because the attack was ongoing, due to precautionary measures or the website was recovering from the damage of the attack.
It is worth noting that the bank of Spain is a non-commercial bank, and doesn’t offer on-site or online services. That’s why its communication with the European Central Bank wasn’t affected. However, to mitigate these kinds of threats, banks and financial institutions must invest in real-time protective measures that are capable of detecting DDoS attacks prior to these are successful.
The bank’s website is now back online. Hacktivists often rely upon DDoS attacks to protest against any incident. The Bank of Spain is only one of the victims of the Anonymous Catalonia hacktivist group. The protest campaign #OpCatalonia was launched by the group on August 19.
On August 20, the group initially launched an attack on the website of the Spanish government and focused initially on attacking Spain’s foreign ministry, economy, and Constitutional Court’s official websites. On August 26, the Bank of Spain’s website was attacked. So, we can assume that there might be more fireworks coming up for the Spanish government.