Major cyber attack on Govt of Maldives websites following social media controversy over PM Modi’s Lakshadweep visit
- January 9, 2024
- 5:17 am
The official websites of the Maldivian president’s office, the foreign ministry, and the tourism ministry were successfully restored in the early hours of Sunday, January 7, after experiencing an interruption lasting several hours ascribed to a possible cyberattack. The
The President’s Office and other branches of the Maldivian government had been hit by technical problems that resulted in disruptions to vital channels for official correspondence.
In their apology, the President’s Office acknowledged this unanticipated technological setback, which started the night before. The problem was actively being worked on by the National Centre for Information Technology (NCIT) and other pertinent organizations. There was downtime during this time on platforms that were essential for government communication.
Along with this, an intense social media attack against India happened, causing extensive criticism. Social media users, as well as ministers and well-known citizens, were upset by a pro-Maldives account that used insulting remarks against India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Deputy Minister Mariyam Shiuna, who heads youth empowerment, information, and the arts, denigrated Prime Minister Modi on Twitter, calling him a “puppet of Israel” and a “clown.” During the Prime Minister’s visit to the Lakshadweep Islands, she tweeted something that fueled the escalating dispute.
“What a clown. The puppet of Israel, Mr. Narendra diver with a life jacket #VisitMaldives,” Shiuna tweeted.
The controversy deepened when Zahid Rameez, a Council member of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), made racist remarks against Indians, questioning India’s competitiveness with the Maldives. This came in response to a post by a user praising PM Modi’s Lakshadweep visit.
Responding to a tweet posted by a user @MrSinha_, Zahid Rameez tweeted, “The move is great. However, the idea of competing with us is delusional. How can they provide the service we offer? How can they be so clean? The permanent smell in the rooms will be the biggest downfall.”
The Maldivian government swiftly distanced itself from the offensive remarks, citing them as personal opinions. The social media controversy coincided with the suspected cyber attack, raising questions about a potential connection between the two incidents.
The National Centre for Information Technology is working to improve cybersecurity protocols and avert similar incidents in the future as part of its ongoing investigation into the cyberattack. As a result of the backlash from the divisive social media remarks, appeals have been made for more diplomatic caution and to strengthen ties between India and the Maldives.