'Anonymous member': Release vandalism suspects

A PERSON claiming to be a member of international hacktivist group Anonymous has demanded the release of five men arrested for allegedly vandalising public property here in November last year.

The supposed member posted a "press release" last Thursday on file-sharing website Pastebin, calling for the public to "tweet storm" on Twitter accounts @govsingapore and @MFAsg, which are run by the Singapore Government, on the issue.

Tweet storm, a slang term used by netizens, is an online protest on Twitter to flood an account with tweets of the same message in the hope of reaching a broader audience.

The post also urged the public to send e-mail messages to Law Minister K. Shanmugam to explain to him why civil disobedience should never be met with corporal punishment, and to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to ask him to "take an interest in seeing that actual justice prevails and that these young men no longer face prison terms or brutal lashing".

The tweet storm, which was scheduled for Wednesday, did not appear to have taken place.

"No unusual activity has been observed so far on the Government's social media channels or e-mail," said an Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) spokesman. Even if it has taken place, the tweet storm will not affect government network infrastructure, she added.

IDA said the police are investigating to see if any offence has been committed.

Mr Aloysius Cheang, Asia-Pacific managing director of Cloud Security Alliance, said the security threat to computer systems from a tweet storm is considered low.

But if hackers have responded to the second call by the alleged member and sent e-mail messages carrying a virus, the threat will be menacing, he added.

Such a virus can infiltrate networks and systems, and allow a perpetrator to steal personal or corporate information.

The five arrested men were accused of spray-painting slogans referring, among other things, to global hacktivist group Anonymous on Nov 5 last year.

Mohamad Fadzly Aziz, 21, Muhammad Qamarul Arifin Sa'adon, 22, Muhammad Fitri Abu Kasim, 24, and Danial Ryan Salleh, 25, allegedly used spray-paint to vandalise places including a pillar and a pavement outside Sunshine Plaza.

Mohamad Fadzly and another friend, Muhammad Redzwan Baskin, 26, also allegedly committed vandalism at *Scape in Orchard Road.

itham@sph.com.sg


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