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Malaysia: Hacktivist Group Attacks Government Websites

Categories: East Asia, Malaysia, Digital Activism, Freedom of Speech

International ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous, responsible for many hacks of prominent websites around the world, has carried through on its threat [1] to attack [2] the Malaysian government’s main website www.malaysia.gov.my [3] over the government’s proposed censoring of several file sharing websites, including the Pirate Bay and Megaupload.

A few days ago, the group posted a YouTube video [4] about its intentions to carry out the attacks at 3.30am (local time) on Thursday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6BHYPqmDyyM [5]

At least 50 other government websites were attacked, including the state of Sabah’s tourism [6] website, and the Tourism Malaysia [7] website. The websites of the Royal Malaysian Police [8], the Malaysian Parliament [9], the Ministry of Finance [10] as well as the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism [11], which were restored before 9 am (local time).

Twitter [12] has been abuzz with conversations, with many Malaysians finding the incident amusing. Adi Adzfar [13]tweeted:

Operation Malaysia; legit! Hackers are cool

Shawn Loong [14] tweeted:

Operation Malaysia- Get your popcorns ready! It’s going live at 3.30am!

Aida Ghafar [15] showed her scepticism in the government’s ability to track down Anonymous, comparing it to the recent acid-splasher [16] criminal that has yet to be arrested:

Cops want to track down who anon is? They can’t even track down one acid splasher!

Zarul Shahrin [17] expressed caution:

I hope Malaysians who got involved with Operation Malaysia know what they are doing- Hopefully won’t get escorted to jail after the thrill

KahMun [18], too, expressed her doubts on the motives of the attack:

The name Operation Malaysia sounds noble, but will the outcome benefit us all?

Before the attacks, Crankster blogged [19] that he hopes that the attacks would be successful:

I support the effort by Anonymous in hacking into the official portal and dishing out a denial of service (meaning that no one can access that site).

However, I can't see it being a big deal. I don't think many people log on to that site anyway!

Online news portal Malaysiakini also reported [20] that some user data from the Sabah tourism website have been compromised:

Despite the police assurance that no data has been compromised in the attacks on government websites last night, a set of user data allegedly leaked from Sabah tourism official website has been published over the Internet.

A posting on a free anonymous web hosting portal, has exposed the data of 392 user accounts. The details include user email, user name, first and last name, as well as their encrypted passwords.

The portal claimed that more than 3,456 accounts are at risk but had released details of only 392 so far.

A list of affected websites can be found here [21].