New OpNicaragua campaign observed in protest at governmental policies

Target: Nicaraguan governmental sites as well as companies important to the running of the country

Attack Vector: Mostly DDoS attacks and website leaks but also website defacement

Threat Actor: Various, including @SHARPSHOOTER, @MinionGhost and @AnonymousNicaragua

Summary: Threat Intelligence has observed a new hacktivist campaign currently known as #OpNicaragua. While not the only factor, the campaign seems to have been triggered by unpopular governmental policies, but also is in response to the alleged corruption and oppression carried out by the administration in Managua. This has sparked widespread protests and rioting in the Caribbean state and it seems the hacktivist campaigns are related to the protests on the ground as they appear to be carried out in assistance of the citizens of Nicaragua. Risk assessment summary: This threat is assessed as 3d MODERATE. While civilians in Nicaragua have long been silenced by the oppression of the Ortega administration, the mass protests observed could be a landmark moment in which the oppressed begin to show their frustration more actively. This is even more likely given the violence with which the government has responded, driving more and more people to protest. All of this gives hacktivist groups more incentive to target the Nicaraguan administration, the oppressive policies and corruption of whom they disagree with.

The risk is also at a greater level than most hacktivist operations with a higher proportion of attacks seen to be DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks and data leaks as opposed to simply website defacements. This requires a deeper level of sophistication, indicating the threat actors involved to be of a more advanced capability. The risk is also raised by the potential for Nicaragua to respond to the cyberattacks by utilising the resources of their allies in Moscow. Such a response could increase political tension between the East and West as well as bring Central American countries into the dispute. Were it not for the fact Nicaragua is not particularly notorious for cyber-hacktivism, the risk would be raised even further.

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