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French Government Reacts to CyberCaliphate’s Attack on TV5 Monde

PARIS — In the wake of TF5 Monde’s hacking late Wednesday night, the French government is moving swiftly to enforce stricter anti-hacking measures and hold meetings with major media players in Gaul.

Bernard Cazeneuve, France’s interior minister, has launched an inquiry, while culture minister Fleur Pellerin has set up meetings with heads of major TV and press outlets.

The attack, which caused TV5 Monde to lose control of its TV station, website and social-media accounts for a few hours late Wednesday (French time), was perpetrated by CyberCaliphate, a group belonging to the Islamic State. The operation gave CyberCaliphate access to IDs of French military personnel claimed to be involved in anti-IS operations along with the U.S. military.

The hackers posted images of a masked man on some pages and warnings on TV5’s Facebook account.

“Soldiers of France, stay away from the Islamic State! You have the chance to save your families, take advantage of it. The CyberCaliphate continues its cyberjihad against the enemies of Islamic State,” said one message.

A message also condemned France’s president, Francois Hollande, for making an “unforgivable mistake” by getting involved in a “useless war.” CyberCaliphate also referred to the recent deadly attacks at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and the Hyper Casher market (which killed 17 people in total) as “presents” to the French people.

France’s prime minister, Manuel Walls, called CyberCaliphate’s actions against TV5 Monde “an unacceptable insult to freedom of information and expression.”

The TV operations, which are syndicated worldwide, were back on air within three hours. But at 5 a.m. French time — more than eight hours after the attack began — some of the website pages were still unavailable “due to maintenance.”

The channel is owned by a coalition of French-language broadcasters in France, Europe and Canada. French state-owned group France Televisions is its largest shareholder with 49%.

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