The cyber-attacks comes after the vast majority of Catalans voted for independence in a referendum, with the Spanish government working to trigger Article 155 of the country’s constitution in order to abolish autonomy of the region.
The political tension after the Catalonia referendum on October 1, 2017, has influenced the virtual arena as well, resulting in cyber-attacks against Spanish websites carried out by hacktivists leaking information about high profile targets and claiming responsibility for shutting down websites.
“Hacktivist group Anonymous, through associated Twitter accounts, is announcing a massive cyberattack for tomorrow… under the name ‘#OpCatalunya’ and ‘#FreeCatalunya’,” the Department of National Security tweeted.
— DSN (@dsn) October 20, 2017
These threat actors use various anti-Spain hashtags that indicate the different cyber campaigns: #OpEspana, #OpCatalonia, #OpCatalonya and #OpSaveCatalonia.
Data Leakages Published on Social Media
Since the beginning of October 2017, hacktivists have published various links to download databases belonged to several Spanish websites:
The Spanish Police (policia.es)
The political party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya
The Municipality of Madrid (madrid.org)
The Department of Finance of Galicia (conselleriadefacenda.es)
ESIC – Marketing and Business School (esic.edu)
The water agency of Castilla-La Mancha (pagina.jccm.es/agenciadelagua/)
The University of the Basque Country (ehu.es)
City Hall of San Javier (sanjavier.es)
In addition to leaked databases, hacktivists are claiming responsibility for shutting down Spanish websites, most of which are government websites. See below several websites mentioned by hacktivists (as of this writing, these websites are online):
In conclusion, as long as the political tension in Spain continues, hacktivists will continue to carry out cyber-attacks against Spanish websites.