Riyadh has confirmed the internal Internet network belonging to the Saudi Foreign Ministry has come under a cyber-attack.
According to Saudi media, Osama bin Ahmad al-Sanousi, a senior official at the kingdom’s Foreign Ministry, made the announcement on Saturday, saying an investigation is underway into the details of the incident.
The Saudi official also downplayed the scale of the hacking incident, describing it as a limited attack.
The confirmation came days after media reports said a group of Yemeni hackers, dubbed Yemen Cyber Army, had published thousands of highly classified Saudi government data, including identities of spies, after declaring taking “full control” over 3,000 computers of Saudi Arabia’s Interior, Defense and Foreign Ministries.
“We have gained access to the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) network and have full control over more than 3,000 computers and servers, and thousands of users. We also have access to the emails, personal and secret information of hundreds of thousands of their staff and diplomats in different missions around the world,” said the hacker group as cited in a report by Iranian Fars news agency.
“We publish only few portions of the vital information we have, just to let them know that 'truly the flimsiest of houses is the spider’s house’,” the statement said.
Yemen Cyber Army first made headlines in mid-April when it hacked the website of a Saudi-owned al-Hayat daily based in London to protest Riyadh’s deadly war on Yemen. According to a statement on the daily’s website, the hackers wanted “to support Yemen revolution.”
Saudi Arabia began its military aggression against Yemen on March 26, without a UN mandate, in a bid to undermine Yemen's Ansarullah movement and restore power to fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a close ally of Riyadh.
According to UN, over 1,840 people had been killed and 7,394 others injured in the war on Yemeni since March 19. The escalating humanitarian crisis has already left millions short of food and fuel.