Malaysians main culprits in web attack: minister

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Most of the hackers who attacked dozens of government and private websites in Malaysia are locals, a minister said Friday.

The attacks on at least 91 websites Thursday followed online threats by Internet activists known as the "Anonymous" group that they would disrupt a Malaysian government portal to protest against Internet censorship.

Ninety per cent of those who attacked some 200 websites over the past four days were locals, and authorities were in the process of identifying them, said science, technology and innovation minister Maximus Ongkili.

"We have come to know that most of the hackers were locals, not from abroad," he was quoted by national news agency Bernama as saying.

According to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), 91 websites, including 51 government sites, were disrupted Thursday alone.

In an update Friday, the commission, Malaysia's Internet watchdog, said the attacks were abating, and most websites had recovered.

"MCMC is still monitoring the situation and continuing to work with other agencies to enhance security measures," it said.

MCMC decided last week to block 10 popular file-sharing websites in an effort to combat piracy. Government officials have denied the move amounts to Internet censorship.

The "Anonymous" group sabotaged Turkish sites last week to protest against Internet censorship. On Tuesday, Turkish police arrested 32 people suspected of belonging to "Anonymous" over the attacks.