Hackers deface more Australian sites

Hackers deface more Australian sites

The authorities in the region were no clearer on the precise identities of those behind a series of attacks on websites, even as more websites reportedly fell victim to the global movement called Anonymous.

Yesterday, a group called Anonymous Indonesia claimed responsibility for the defacement of around 200 Australian sites to protest against reports of alleged Australian spying in Indonesia.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said he had been following these reports, but was not sure what kind of causal relationship there was between the surveillance disclosures and the attacks.

What he wanted though, he said at a press conference yesterday, was a "strong commitment" from both Australia and the United States that they "would not be engaged in any activity inconsistent with the friendly relations between our two countries".

Anonymous Philippines said it had infiltrated more than 100 government websites before a demonstration outside Congress today as part of a global march against corruption and government censorship. The government pledged to take action against hackers.

Anonymous Philippines apologised for the inconvenience, but said it was drumming home the message that Filipinos have become "tired of this government and the politicians who only think about themselves", the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

Meanwhile, Indonesian officials said they had yet to receive reports or requests to identify the attackers, believed to be a loose network of hackers.

Communication and Information Technology Ministry spokesman Gatot Dewa Broto said such attacks, like illegal surveillance, cannot be left unchallenged. "We are often the object of such cyber attacks," he told The Straits Times.

A number of social media users in Indonesia cheered the hijacking of the Australian sites, which bore messages that read "Stop spying on Indonesia", alongside a masked image of 17th-century rebel Guy Fawkes, who was arrested on Nov 5, 1605, for trying to blow up the English Parliament.

The mask has become a protest symbol against politicians and has been adopted by the international Anonymous movement, which pledged to carry out more attacks today.

In Australia, targets of its hacking ranged from websites of children's charities and small businesses to a hospital and humanitarian organisation.

Speaking to reporters at Indonesia's Foreign Ministry, Dr Marty also had tough words for the US and Australia.

Last week, documents from National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden said both countries ran surveillance operations from their embassies in Jakarta. On Sunday, a newspaper report said both mounted a joint surveillance mission on Indonesia during a 2007 conference in Bali.

Both countries, Dr Marty said, would neither confirm nor deny these allegations.

"We must assume that such activities are taking place unless we are able to obtain explicit assurance that they are not taking place," he said. "They should be able to say, henceforth, they're not going to do it any more. Enough is enough."

Indonesia, Dr Marty announced, would join Germany and Brazil in asking the United Nations to adopt a draft resolution to end excessive electronic surveillance.

It would also review its information-sharing arrangement with Australia and the US, he added, saying: "If they do their information gathering outside the formal channels, then what is the point of having these?"

zakirh@sph.com.sg


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