Hackers blitz on govt web sites
9th March 2005 (Malay Mail)
BY Eddie Chua

KUALA LUMPUR: Hackers have defaced more than a dozen Malaysian web sites, particularly those owned by Government agencies, universities and Government departments, over the past four days.

The National ICT Security and Emergency Response Centre (NISER) said they are worried about the escalating trend which started last Thursday.

Its director, Lt Kol (R) Husin Jazri, told The Malay Mail they are trying to identify the pattern of the attacks and its origins.

"We may get the owners of the hacked web sites to provide us their log to enable us to analyse and trace the attackers," said Husin, adding that there has been an increase in such attacks, particularly on Government-related web site and agencies.

"However, we are unable to determine if it was commercially or politically motivated."

In the latest hacking, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) site was defaced at 4am yesterday. This was detected at 6am by its server administrator. The site was taken down and repaired and it is now back up again.

MCMC's corporate communications department head Adelina Iskandar said the intrusion was discovered when they carried out a regular check on the site.

What the MCMC is more worried about is that the hackers may have accessed some of the 'sensitive' files on their server.

"We are running a thorough check to ascertain if the intruders had accessed the files," she said.

The MCMC has yet to make a police report on the incident.

Adelina said they are conducting an internal investigation to ascertain how the hackers breached the security and what had been accessed from the server.

"Our priority is to secure the site and prevent similar attacks," she said.

The MCMC is a Government regulator in charge of the framework for telecommunications, broadcasting and online activities, as well as postal services and digital certifications.

They are also responsible for implementing and promoting the Government's national policy on the communications and the multimedia sector.

Over the weekend, the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) web site was hacked twice.

On both occasions, hackers posted messages with political connotations based on the on-going Ops Tegas and the dispute between the oil concessions off the Sabah coast.

Among the other web sites hacked since Thursday were the Perak Veterinary Department, Multimedia University, Public Works Department, Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), National Productivity Council, United Nations Development Programmes in Malaysia, Malaysian Amateur Radio Emergency Services Society, and Islamic Information & Services Foundation (IIS).

Initially, the hackers were mainly warning the web site administrators of their failure to secure their sites but the attacks took a political slant last weekend and yesterday.

To date, a computer expert who had analysed the hacked sites was unable to determine if the intrusions were carried out by a group of hackers with a common agenda.

"Based on the USM and MCMC hackings, it seems that they have a different agenda," said a computer security expert.

"But this could also be a ploy to divert the authorities' attention."