S'pore and Malaysia to cooperate on cybersecurity, hacker arrests worldwide

Updated On: Jun 23, 2011

Singapore and Malaysia have agreed to cooperate on Internet security. Malaysian Information, Communication and Culture Minister Dr. Rais Yatim revealed this after a bilateral meeting with his Singapore counterpart Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim at the CommunicAsia convention, held at Marina Bay Sands this week. The move comes after attacks on Malaysian government sites.

"When a country faces the threat of hacking, other countries cannot keep quiet. We should help them and they to help us when it happens to us, through sharing and exchange of data and information," Dr. Rais said.

According to Dr. Rais, cooperation between Singapore and Malaysia would allow a gathering of experts to assist both countries in addressing Internet safety.

Separately, Dr. Rais also spoke with Vice-Minister Tetsuo Yamakawa from Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications regarding cybersecurity.

Dr. Rais said he will be proposing a framework for closer cooperation on Internet safety at the Asian Communications Ministers' Meeting, which will be held in Myanmar at the end of this year.

Report: Malaysia and Singapore to cooperate on Internet safety [TODAY, 23 June 2011]

Last week, Malaysia confirmed that government websites were attacked by hackers. However the disruption did not last long, and Malaysia's Communications and Multimedia Commission said there was little impact on users as a result of the attacks.

At least 41 Malaysian government sites were hacked and defaced. The attack has been blamed on the Anonymous group, a loose collective of hackers. Earlier, Anonymous had called for attacks on Malaysia in response to the government's decision to block several file-sharing websites. Anonymous claims such blocking is an act of censorship.

Press Release: An official statement from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in relation to the hacking of Malaysian government websites by unknown hackers [MCMC, 16 June 2011]

Dr. Rais has warned that Malaysia could face a fresh round of attacks, and the official website of Prime Minister Najib Razak could be targeted. But he said Malaysia is "not afraid of the threat because we are prepared".

Report: Be Ready Against Hackers Attacking PM's Website, Says Rais [Bernama, 21 June 2011]

A string of high-profile attacks have been carried out in recent weeks against government organisations and private companies across the world, including the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Sony.

The latest attacks have been carried out by a group calling themselves Lulz Security, or LulzSec, which is said to include hackers that have 'graduated' from Anonymous. The name comes from slang derived from 'LOL' (laughing out loud), and implies laughing at others' surprise and misery.

[b]UPDATE:[/b] In a statement posted over the weekend, LulzSec says they are ending their electronic attacks, claiming they always planned on a 50-day campaign of break-ins. The group characterises themselves partially as activists raising awareness of privacy and Internet security issues, but also partially as performance artists.

Report: Hacker group calls it quits [Wall Street Journal, 27 June 2011]

Analysis: Hackers gain force from new media [Financial Times, 22 June 2011]

Former US Department of Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff said combating groups like LulzSec and Anonymous pose a unique problem for law enforcement. Speaking at a cybersecurity event in New York yesterday, he said the hardest part in dealing with leaderless groups is finding the right actors involved.

“Do we respond if we don’t know who had bad intent, but can locate the server that is a weapon against us? Do we take out the server in real life or cyberspace? There’s not going to be a clear line and we may take that server out in physical and cyber domains,” he said.

The big question with dealing with 'hactivists' is finding the line where an attack moves from a law enforcement issue to an act of war. Chertoff said defacing a website or stealing sensitive data does not cross the line. But if systems like air traffic control were hacked, leading to loss of life, it could be considered akin to a terrorist attack.

Report: Former DHS chief Chertoff: LulzSec, Anonymous pose big challenges [ZDNet, 22 June 2011]

Yesterday, a teenage hacker was arrested in the United Kingdom. He has been charged with participating in an attack against the UK's Serious Organised crime Agency (SOCA).

LulzSec has been blamed for bringing down the SOCA website. But it is not clear if 19-year-old Ryan Cleary is actually associated with LulzSec. Authorities have not actually accused him of being a member of the group, and LulzSec's Twitter updates suggest that Cleary's attempts on the site were separate from LulzSec's attack.

Meanwhile, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raided a server hosting facility in Virginia this week. Similar raids and arrests also took place in Spain earlier this month. Three Spanish hackers have been accused of breaking into the Sony PlayStation network, as well as attacking major banks and the governments of Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Iran, Chile, Colombia and New Zealand.

Report and Analysis: Arrested U.K. Hacker Charged for Attack Claimed by LulzSec [TIME, 22 June 2011]

Related Article