Government websites attacked as Bahrain holds parliamentary polls
Bahrain voted on Saturday in a parliamentary and local election just hours after hackers targeted government websites in the island kingdom.
The Interior Ministry did not identify the websites targeted, but the country's state-run Bahrain News Agency could not be reached online nor could the website for Bahrain's parliament. Later, Bahrain's election website could not be accessed from abroad, though the news agency's website had been restored.
"Websites are being targeted to hinder the elections and circulate negative messages in desperate attempts that won’t affect the determination of citizens who will go to the polling stations,” the Interior Ministry said.
Screenshots taken by internet users showed a picture after the hack claiming it was carried out by a previously unknown account called Al-Toufan, or "The Flood" in Arabic. Social media accounts associated with Al-Toufan said the group targeted the parliament's website.
The account claimed on Saturday afternoon it took down another government website, which wasn't reachable from abroad, according to the Associated Press.
Bahraini officials did not respond to a request for comment about the hack. Bahrain state television aired footage of people voting in the polls, with the state-run news agency describing the election as going "smoothly” across 55 polling sites in the country.
The attack happened just hours ahead of the parliamentary and municipal elections in the country. Voters are picking the 40 members of the lower house of Bahrain's parliament, the Council of Representatives. The parliament's upper house, the Consultative Council, is appointed by royal decree by King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa.
Bahrain has voted in parliamentary and local elections every four years since 2002 after the island became a kingdom.