France's TV5Monde Taken Off Air by Pro-ISIS Hackers

AP Images/Invision
TV5Monde's Facebook page was also hacked.

The hackers took down the channel for three hours overnight, and posted pro-ISIS messages on its website and Facebook pages.

TV5Monde was off the air for three hours overnight following a cyber attack from ISIS supporters that disabled the international French-language channel and showed black screens, as well as taking over its website, Facebook page and Twitter feed.

The Paris-based channel was black from about 10 pm local time Wednesday to 1 am Thursday. “We are no longer in a position to broadcast any of our channels,” TV5Monde director Yves Bigot told AFP during the attack. “Our sites and our social networks are not under our control, and they all display the claims of the Islamic State.”

TV5Monde had been able to regain control of some of the channels by 2 am, though its website was still down as of Thursday morning. Internal messaging and mail systems were also targeted during the attack. Bigot predicted that a return to normal programming is likely to take several days.

"We've been able to restore broadcast of one signal on across all of our channels, but cannot send out pre-recorded broadcasts nor restart the production of our news shows," Bigot said in a radio interview on RTL Thursday morning.

The attackers took over the channel's Twitter and Facebook accounts, and the Facebook page read “CyberCaliphate” and “Je SuIS IS” – a play on the “Je Suis Charlie” slogan that was popularized following the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks in January.

The social network page displayed what appeared to be the IDs and resumes of French relatives of soldiers involved in operations against ISIS with the message: “Soldiers of France, stay away from the Islamic State! You have the chance to save your families. Enjoy. In the name of Allah the all Merciful, the Most Merciful, the CyberCaliphate continues to lead its cyberjihad against the enemies of the Islamic State.”

The message accused president Francois Hollande of having made an “unforgivable mistake” by getting involved in the U.S.-led coalition that has been bombing ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria and said that the January attacks on the newspaper Charlie Hebdo and the Kosher supermarket by a trio of terrorists were direct retaliation.

CyberCaliphate are the same hackers that took over the U.S. military’s Central Command (Centcom) social media accounts in January, and Newsweek magazine in February.

TV5Monde broadcasts French news and programming on 11 channels in 200 countries around the world.