PM: No mercy for hackers

The culprits behind the recent hacking of government websites will be dealt with "to the full extent of the law", Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday, in his first comments since the suspects were rounded up.

"It is not a prank when someone hacks websites and intrudes into computer systems," said PM Lee, condemning the acts as a criminal act.

He also cautioned against condoning computer hacking, which he denounced as "malicious and harmful".

"At a minimum, it inconveniences the public, but potentially, it has much graver consequences. It can damage infrastructure and endanger lives," he said.

PM Lee was speaking at the opening of the 13th ASEAN Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministers Meeting. The annual meeting promotes regional cooperation in infocomm efforts.

He capped his message by urging citizens to speak up against hacking.

"Citizens, too, should speak up against such acts, and express their clear disapproval of those responsible, as well as others who have supported or encouraged the perpetrators," he said.

On Tuesday, the alleged hacker - a 35-year-old Singaporean - behind the defacement of the PAP Community Foundation and Ang Mo Kio Town Council websites, as well as The Straits Times blog site, was charged in court.

Hiding behind the "Messiah" moniker, James Raj Arokiasamy also allegedly created the Oct 29 YouTube video threatening a wave of cyberattacks in protest against licensing rules for news websites here.

Separately, five men were being investigated for last Friday's hacking of websites belonging to the Prime Minister's Office and the Istana.

Noting the recent cyberinvasion in the region, PM Lee said that ASEAN nations must cooperate to deal with common threats.

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