HomeTechThe Pope's website taken offline in suspected hacker attack

The Pope’s website taken offline in suspected hacker attack

The suspected hack comes a day after Moscow criticised Pope Francis’s latest condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Hackers have targeted the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church in an apparent cyberattack.

The official Vatican website was taken offline on Wednesday following an apparent hacking attack, the Holy See said.

‘Technical investigations are ongoing due to abnormal attempts to access the site,’ Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said, without giving any further information.

The suspected hack comes a day after Moscow criticised Pope Francis’s latest condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In an interview with a Jesuit magazine, the pope had singled out troops from Chechnya and other ethnic minorities in Russia for their particular ‘cruelty’ during the war.

The Vatican launched its main website in 1995 and since then it has steadily expanded its web presence (Picture: AFP)

This is not the first time the Vatican has been targeted by cybercriminals.

In 2020, hackers linked to the Chinese government infiltrated Vatican computer networks ahead of talks between the Holy See and Beijing over the renewal of a deal to stabilise relations between China and the Church.

Metro.co.uk has reached out to the Vatican for comment.



History of hacking the Vatican

The Vatican launched its main website, www.vatican.va, in 1995 and since then it has steadily expanded its web presence.

Today Vatican City has a sprawling system of websites run by the Internet Office of the Holy See.

These websites are organized under the country’s top-level domain ‘.va’ and hackers have frequently targeted the institution since it first went online.

In 2012, the hacking group Anonymous briefly blocked access to http://www.vatican.va and disabled other sites, including those of the Vatican secretariat of state and the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. 


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