Harare – Websites belonging to Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF Party, and his state controlled broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) have been hacked and shut down by an internet vigilante group named Anonymous Africa, after Mugabe’s government blocked access to instant messenger services Whatsapp earlier this morning.
Faced with growing protests that have since turned into violent riots, Mugabe’s government is said to have instructed all Internet Service Providers to turn off access to Whatsapp IM.
The government is said to have been worried that protesters were mobilizing their activities over the Instant Messenger application.
Other reports seem to indicate the government was worried about internal terrorism, after messages began circulating on the platform advising citizens on how to make petrol bombs.
After citizens flooded petrol stations in Zimbabwe to purchase petrol, mainly in Bulawayo, the government is thought to have increased its terror alert level to orange.
The hacker group first announced via their twitter feed that they had taken down Zanu PF’s website, followed by Zimbabwean Government Websites, and the State Broadcaster ZBC. The hackers are supporting the movement to #ShutDownZimbabwe
— Anonymous Africa (@zim4thewin) July 6, 2016
Update (07/07/2016) 18:37
By late afternoon yesterday (6 July), Africa Anonymous had updated its target list, and took down the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Association of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) and the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, whose decision it was to block Whatsapp to begin with.
POTRAZ reacted by installing an SSL certificate on their website, but that was done incorrectly resulting in mixed content errors on all browsers.
The websites were shut down for nearly 4 hours, and for several hours at a time by end of day.
Early this morning Anonymous announced that it was had launched a worldwide attack on all assets linked to Robert Mugabe, or belonging to the Zimbabwean government.
In a YouTube video, they called on all Anons (Anonymous attackers) around the world to come together and help the people of Zimbabwe. The group reiterated their support for #ThisFlag and #OccupyAfricaUnitySquare and urged people to help with bail money to free jailed activists.
Websites were confirmed as down for everyone around the world during attacks.
The websites are being reported as down all around the world….
A test for the websites reflected that they were inaccessible
The Zimbabwean government this morning distanced itself from the Whatsapp blackout. However the announcement was met with mixed reactions, as the ban tallied with a statement released by POTRAZ.