Govt websites not hacked, but threats taken seriously

SINGAPORE - Hacking was not the reason for why some government websites were down on Saturday, but the Government is taking a serious stance on threats made against it by a hacking group.

In a statement issued yesterday, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) said the Government takes threats to its information and communication technology infrastructure "very seriously".

Government agencies have also been on heightened vigilance and have enhanced the security of their IT systems, in response to such threats, it added.

While IDA did not reveal information on the measures that were taken, My Paper understands that they include website upgrading and patching.

On Thursday, a person claiming to be part of international hacktivist group Anonymous made a threat to the Government through a YouTube video message.

In it, he said Anonymous would strike at Singapore's infrastructure if the Government did not reconsider the regulations of a licensing framework on news websites.

For the government websites that were down on Saturday, IDA said on Facebook that it was due to a "planned maintenance".

It added later that the maintenance "took longer than expected, due to technical difficulties".

It said maintenance is commonly performed on weekends and public holidays as traffic is expected to be low.

IDA said on Sunday night that there would be routine maintenance of systems from midnight, which would result in "intermittent access" to various government websites.

Yesterday, it said that the maintenance of IT systems is "part of the Government's on-going efforts to enhance security".

During Saturday's maintenance from 1pm to 3pm to improve security, a fault was discovered that affected several government websites. The glitch was due to a routing issue and hardware failure, not a hacking attack, IDA said.

Nearly 20 sites were down, but the issue was rectified by 5.20pm.

Over the next few days, while maintenance is taking place, users might still experience intermittent access to some government websites.

IDA said that government agencies will work to complete maintenance as soon as possible.

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