Instead of seeing the government’s page, users were directed to a black background with a crest bearing the image of a green and white eagle across it, with what appears to be Arabic lettering on a banner below the bird.
This is, reportedly, the calling card of The Muslim Electronic Army.
The page read: “The government of Antigua & Barbuda has been stamped by (the) Muslim Electronic Army. Security is just an illusion.”
The hackers also left a message referencing what they believed to be the United States’ hypocritical treatment of states like Syria, Iraq and Gaza.
Speaking at a press conference Saturday evening to address the matter, Minister of Information Technology, Melford Nicholas said it is too early to say whether the breach was an act of terrorism. He said government was notified of the violation at around 4:30 pm.
“Upon that notification, we did have a look and found the information to be true,” Nicholas said.
Nicholas said while the name of the group may spark public fear, there has been no confirmation of any extremist ties.
“It has created an alarm, especially because of what’s imprinted on that stamp. It draws on the fears that people have about terrorism,” he said. “It’s premature because we have not yet completed our evaluation, but we will certainly keep the public in the loop as we gather more information.”
The minister said the Computer Security Incidence Response Team (C-SIRT) was mobilized after the attack and is working to restore the site.
The site was temporarily reactivated on Saturday, but was pulled down for precautionary reasons.