SINGAPORE - Within four days of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 in March last year, a group of cyber criminals known as Naikon apparently launched an "attack" on the Malaysian authorities.
The group had attempted to infect the computers of government organisations, the navy, police and civil aviation departments in Malaysia, as well as those in other countries involved in the search for the plane, said IT security firm Kaspersky Lab.
The motive was to steal information related to the investigation and search efforts, said the firm's Global Research and Analysis Team director Costin Raiu.
"There is a cyber-criminal group (which is) extremely active in the Asia-Pacific region - Naikon. Following the disappearance of MH370, we noticed a spike in the attacks by Naikon.
"Its purpose was to get intelligence from the countries which were involved in the search," he said during the Kaspersky Cybersecurity Summit in Singapore recently.
It is not known how successful the group had been.
He said the group sent hundreds of thousands of phishing e-mail messages - usually used to steal information - which often claimed to contain "updates" or were seeking information about MH370, with a Microsoft Word document attached.
"They successfully targeted very high-profile institutions in several countries," Mr Raiu said.