A "cyberattack" possibly led by Russia has been carried out in New Caledonia said local Minister Christopher Gyges. (Bill Hinton)


New Caledonia hit by suspected ‘Russian cyber-attack’


A “cyber-attack” possibly led by Russia has been carried out on the South Pacific archipelago of New Caledonia, said local minister Christopher Gyges.

“Last night we suffered a cyber-attack of unprecedented force in New Caledonia,” he said at a press conference on May 22.

“Millions of emails were sent simultaneously to an email address with the purpose to clog the New Caledonian network and render it inoperable.”

Gyges told French media outlet BFMTV that “the majority of IP addresses” traced in the attack originated from Russia.

The alleged Russian cyberattack in New Caledonia coincided with the announcement that French President Emmanuel Macron would be visiting the territory on May 22.

This ”unprecedented attack”, Gyges said, was a “provocation” ahead of the head of state’s visit.

Macron’s visit comes after days of rioting in the French territory, with the violence resulting in several fatalities.

The protests erupted after the French National Assembly approved changes to the voting rules in New Caledonia, repealing the 1998 Noumea Agreements, which restricted provincial election voting to those registered before 1998.

The suspected Russian attack came amid claims of foreign interference on the island. French interior minister Gérald Darmanin on May 15 accused Azerbaijan of collaborating with independence movements in the region to destabilise the island.

“I regret that some of the pro-independence leaders in New Caledonia have made a deal with Azerbaijan, that’s undeniable,” he said.