50 M'sian govt websites compromised

PETALING JAYA - The attack by the hacker group Anonymous on the 91 Malaysian websites sounds fierce but actually did little to inconvenience the public. More than 50 government websites were among those affected.

The Government sites hit were information providers, rather than the more important e-transaction platforms such as Inland Revenue Board, Employees Provident Fund, Road Transport Department or MyEG.

There appeared to be no threat to these sites, which would contain confidential data, such as information concerning bank accounts, credit cards and MyKad details.

Also, these sites would typically have much more robust security systems making them tougher to crack.

Anonymous' choice of target sites appears to be more focused on embarrassing the Government rather than to steal confidential data.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said the distributed denial-of-service attacks started at about 11.30pm on Wednesday night but petered out by 4am yesterday.

Costin G. Raiu, director of the global research and analysis team at Kaspersky Lab a Russian computer security company pointed out Anonymous' oversight.

"It's a mistake for the attacker to warn the potential victim about the attack," he said.

"This gives the victim time to prepare by implementing additional security strategies and hardening servers."

Anonymous had posted its intent to hack the www.malaysia.gov.my portal on Tuesday on a website.

The attacks were to protest against the Government's censorship of the Internet, movies and TV shows, and because Malaysia had blocked 10 filesharing sites.

The denial-of-service attacks managed to crash the websites at various levels but according to the MCMC, 76 sites were up and running by 6pm yesterday.

The MCMC and CyberSecurity Malaysia, the agency that is responsible for the nation's borders in cyberspace, were unable to confirm by press time whether security at the downed sites had been beefed up.

CyberSecurity said it was prepared for more attacks, which it was expecting to happen "over the next several days".