The Ministry of Homeland Security and Technology’s website was compromised in a cyberattack on Friday night, displaying a message purportedly from a group called ‘Indian Cyber Force. The incident adds to a series of cyberattacks targeting the nation’s digital infrastructure.

This attack, which showcased a warning on the ministry’s homepage, highlighted the historical aid and assistance provided by India to the Maldives, expressing dismay at the perceived disrespect towards India through both words and actions. The hackers admonished the Maldives, suggesting a forgetfulness of the support India has historically offered.

These cyber-attacks appear to be in response to a diplomatic row triggered by derogatory comments made on X (formerly Twitter) by three Deputy Ministers of the Youth Ministry in the Maldives, targeting India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

These comments, which critiqued a video promoting tourism by Modi during his visit to Lakshadweep, led to the suspension of the ministers involved. Subsequently, Maldives High Commissioner to India, Ibrahim Shaheeb, was summoned by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

The series of cyberattacks and the diplomatic tension between the Maldives and India have resulted in increased scrutiny on social media, with several official websites, including that of the President’s Office and other government agencies in the Maldives, having been previously targeted and temporarily disabled by hackers claiming to be from India. 

These websites have since been restored, but the incidents underscore the fragile nature of international relations in the digital age and the potential for cyberattacks to be used as a tool for political messages and warnings from citizen-led movements.