On Tuesday night, the websites of two government ministries in Bahrain experienced a temporary outage due to a cyberattack. The affected ministries were the Foreign Ministry and the Information Affairs Ministry. A group identifying itself as Al-Toufan, meaning “The Flood” in Arabic, claimed responsibility for the hacking.
The cyberattack was purportedly a response to Bahrain’s position on the Israel-Hamas conflict. The hackers, in a statement, mentioned their actions were in retaliation for what they termed as “abnormal statements” issued by Bahrain’s ruling Al Khalifa family. Last week, Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa had called for a hostage swap between Hamas and Israel and urged a cessation of hostilities.
The group also released scanned images of passports, including those of American citizens and a high-ranking Russian diplomat in Bahrain, which they claimed were obtained during the cyber intrusion.
In response to the cyberattack, a government statement confirmed that several agency websites were targeted but emphasized that government operations were unaffected. The Bahraini government highlighted its robust cybersecurity strategy to address such threats and mentioned ongoing efforts to restore access to the impacted websites.
This is not the first time Al-Toufan has claimed responsibility for cyber intrusions in Bahrain. In February, the group asserted responsibility for bringing down the websites of Bahrain’s international airport, state news agency, and chamber of commerce, marking the 12th anniversary of an Arab Spring uprising.
Bahrain, a country that hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, normalized relations with Israel in 2020 as part of a diplomatic recognition agreement, following the path of the United Arab Emirates. This move has been a source of tension and criticism from regional rival Iran.