A reply from an email address left by alleged hacker “The Messiah” claimed that members of the activist internet group Anonymous worked together Saturday to temporarily take down websites of the Singapore government.
About 19 government sites suffered an outage that day, but the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) said on Monday that a routing problem and hardware failure were the causes of the disruption.
It reportedly insisted that “at no point were these websites the target of cyber attacks”.
In an email to Yahoo Singapore, “The Messiah” said “… we reached out to our comrades from other fractions who together with us performed DNS poisoning on the .gov.sg sites, taking them down for a period of time. But there must have also been some patching that was done as some of our favourite point of entries into their networks seemed to be fixed.”
Yahoo Singapore could not confirm the veracity of the claims in the email reply or the person’s identity but the statements received on Sunday night were credited to “The Messiah” or “T. M.” and were in response to queries sent to the email address put up on a blog of The Straits Times after it was hacked Friday.
The hacking of ST’s blog site came a day after a YouTube video allegedly by the Anonymous network showed a person in a Guy Fawkes mask saying that the “The Messiah” was a comrade and warning the Singapore government of cyber attacks if an internet licensing framework announced earlier were to be implemented.
Lawyers that Yahoo Singapore spoke to said that whoever was behind the video could potentially face charges for violations of the Computer Misuse Act, the Sedition Act or the Internal Security Act.
Regarding the alleged DNS (domain name system) poisoning of government sites on Saturday, software engineers that Yahoo Singapore spoke to said that it was plausible, albeit pending numerous unknown factors, that large-scale, repetitive attacks could have been made through various points of entry to the government's DNS servers.
Meanwhile, “The Messiah” also reiterated the threat of cyber attacks against Singapore's government websites if the government refused to make a statement backing down from the internet licensing framework by Tuesday, the 5th of November this year.
The alleged hacker said that comrades would invade "propaganda media sites" on "a regular basis" without mentioning any specific sites.
“One by one we will knock down all the sites and send their servers to your tech crime department for forensic investigations,” the person said.
Earlier in May, it was announced that 10 news websites, including Yahoo Singapore, would have to obtain licences subjecting them to rules governing traditional media. Websites that have at least 50,000 unique visitors from Singapore every month and publish at least one local news article a week fall under the new rules.
Apart from ST’s blog site, police are investigating three incidents wherein websites were reportedly hacked into and defaced by “The Messiah”, including those of City Harvest Church co-founder Sun Ho, the PAP Community Foundation and the Ang Mo Kio Town Council.
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