Johannesburg - Hackers hit petrochemicals company Sasol on Tuesday night by briefly defacing the company's website.
Pro-Palestine hacker group Hazmah Uygun posted a message on Sasol.com’s homepage on Tuesday night with a message saying “The Sahara Is Moroccan”.
The message was also accompanied by an image of a man covering his face with the Moroccan flag.
A political stalemate exists in the Western Sahara as Morocco refuses to grant the region independence.
But it is unclear why Hazmah Uygun targeted Sasol, which is headquartered in South Africa and has no operations in North Africa, according to the company's head of media relations Alex Anderson.
Anderson told Fin24 that Sasol’s operations only go as far north in Africa as Nigeria. “We don't have any operations up there (Western Sahara); we've got nothing to do with North Africa,” Anderson told Fin24.
Anderson further told Fin24 that the Sasol website was restored early on Wednesday morning as the company has backups. Sasol’s IT team are also studying the breach, Anderson said.
Meanwhile, Hazmah Uygun has defaced 15 South African websites in the last two days with the same message, according to Zone-h.com, a site that tracks hacking incidents.
“What we could tell is this crowd (Hazmah Uygun) targeted other South African websites,” Anderson told Fin24.
Meanwhile, Sasol - which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) - says despite being hacked, its website is safe.
“For the most part it's a very secure website and it's got quite a sophisticated back-end in terms of security. And fortunately it (the hacking incident) was limited to our landing page,” Anderson told Fin24.
Anderson further said Sasol rebuilt its website last year, but that this is the first time the company has experienced a hacking incident.