November 1, 2013
Anonymous Hacks Singapore Journalist, Threatens Further Action
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Singapore’s government is on high alert today following a cyber-attack on its main paper.
A hacker claiming to be with the collective Anonymous is taking responsibility for hacking the blog of a Straits Times journalist in protest of new censorship laws that may be passed in the nation soon. Days earlier Anonymous posted a video on YouTube claiming it would attack the infrastructure of Singapore on the fifth of November if the new censorship laws are passed.
According to Straits Times, the Government IT Security Incident Response Team, which was set up to coordinate responses to a cyber-intrusion, has now alerted all government agencies about the potential attack.
A hacker operating under the assumed name “Messiah” is claiming the collective attacked the journalist’s blog in retaliation for misinformation. According to the hacker, the journalist distorted "our words and intentions" in a report about the alleged fifth of November attack. A looming picture of the Anonymous mascot now resides on the site with the words "We oppose any form of Internet censorship among other things.”
The hacker is now threatening further action if the news source does not appease them within 48 hours. Furthermore, the group is asking for the journalist’s resignation if she fails to apologize.
"If those demands are met we will be on our way. But in the event our demands are not met in the next 48 hours, we will place you in our 'to do' list and next time you wont (sic) be let off this easy,” reads the threat on the journalist’s blog. Singapore Press Holdings, the company that owns Strait Times, says it has contacted the Police and they are investigating the attack.
The new Internet framework proposed by Singapore’s government would require those sites that “report regularly on issues relating to Singapore and have significant reach among readers" to obtain an individual license to do so. This, claims Anonymous and others, would restrict free speech and eliminate the right of citizens to question their government. Under the new rules, those websites that are granted licenses must remove any content the government deems controversial within 24 hours of notification. Content that undermines "racial or religious harmony,” for instance, will be prohibited under the new infrastructure.
"We demand you reconsider the regulations of your (Internet) framework or we will be forced to go to war with you," said a masked-individual in the first YouTube threat. The video has since been taken down, but it can be found on other YouTube channels.
Bloggers and fans of social media have also opposed Singapore’s proposed infrastructure, arguing the nation failed to allow the public to give their opinion on the new rules. These sites have become quite popular in recent years as alternatives to the state-owned broadcasts and newspapers.
Anonymous’ threat against the Singapore government isn’t all that surprising. The hacking collective is well known for attacking nations and organizations that disagree with its principles. Every year, the loosely organized hacker group celebrates November Fifth, or Guy Fawkes Day, by threatening to take down databases and infrastructures. For the past two years the group has threatened to attack Facebook and bring the site down. Yet each year the group claims its threats were untrue rumors just days before such intended attacks.
An Australian arm of the group said it had broken into the databases for PayPal and Symantec last year during their annual protests, but Facebook was left unscathed.