Australian sites defaced in retaliation for snooping

Australian sites defaced in retaliation for snooping

JAKARTA - Individuals under a group who call themselves Anonymous Indonesia collectively defaced more than 200 websites with the .au domain in protest of reports of alleged wiretapping conducted by the Australian Embassy in Jakarta.

The group, which used the hashtag #OpAustralia on the microblogging site Twitter, defaced a wide range of websites, from florist shops to financial advisor sites.

"Stop spying on Indonesia," wrote the group on one of the defaced sites. "Tell your government to stop all forms of eavesdropping on Indonesia or we will destroy your Internet network," it wrote on another site.

One of the hackers, who goes by the Twitter handle @Rizkyynr, was one of the first to launch attacks on .au domain websites. The hacker brought down privateinvestmentclub.com.au on Nov 2.

This was followed by @lockhearrtt, who defaced macedonians.com.au.

The two instigated others, including @dody_kinal48 and @vickry_ab, to follow suit.

The common link between all the hackers was that they were fans all-female singing and dancing collective JKT48.

#OpAustralia initially started off as a hashtag in protest of censorship in Australia.

The group, however, apparently only targeted sites run by private entities.

One account, @andyr787, said in a tweet that "not a single .gov.au address seems to have been taken down".

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa lashed out at the spying activity, saying that if there were no ''explicit assurances'' that spying would stop, it would threaten Indonesia's role as a partner in other areas.

The Australian government, meanwhile, has neither confirmed or denied the allegations.

Foreign Ministers from both governments are expected to meet later this week at the Bali Democracy Forum. The multilateral forum will likely overshadowed by reports of alleged spying operations by the Australian government to gather intelligence on Indonesia during the UN climate change conference held in 2007.

Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Greg Moriarty was summoned last week by the Foreign Ministry to explain spying allegations following news reports based on documents leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden to international media outlets.

The US Embassy's Chargé d'Affaires ad interim Kristen Bauer also visited the ministry to be reprimanded over the US's alleged wiretapping operations in the country.

Hikmahanto Juwana, a professor of international law from the University of Indonesia's school of law, said that the government must take firm action in dealing with the recently reported wiretapping as they were serious ethical violations and had breached international legal norms.

"There will be public outcry if the government does not take firm action and relations with the US and Australian governments will be affected," Hikmahanto said as quoted by Antara news agency.

Hikmahanto pointed out a number of options for the Indonesian government, such as to expel several American and Australian diplomats. He said that if necessary, the government could also recall the Indonesian Ambassador to the United States and Australia and suspend sending ambassadors to those countries.

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