Hackers Attack SDP Website Again - No Clues from S'pore Authorities
- By Mellanie Hewlitt
31 Jan 2004
Following a spate of attacks on the website of alternative
newsgroups in 2003, hackers have again been busy in 2004 and renewed
their attacks on the website of the Singapore Democrats.
Surfers who attempt to access the website (http://www.singaporedemocrats.org/)
will instead be directed to a mature sex pornographic website. Over the years,
similiar mysterious attacks have been directed at the websites of independent
political parties (non PAP affiliated political organisations) and independent
Tonight's hacking (31 Jan 2004) on the SDP website was the latest in
a series of attacks that date back to 2001. What is disturbingly unusual is
the manner and form of these attacks which seem to target only the websites of
independent political parties and independent newsgroups. These "Politically
Correct" hackers have not directed any attacks on PAP websites or the
websites of PAP affiliated government organisations.
The Singapore Authorities, who have recently tightened regulations
controlling internet hackings have not made any progress in
uncovering the nature and cause of these unprovoked attacks.
Only in November 2003, the city-state's parliament approved tough new
legislation aimed at stopping "cyberterrorism," referring to computer
crimes that are endanger national security, foreign relations, banking and
essential public services.
Government sponsored Security agencies can now patrol the Internet with
frightening efficiency and swoop down on hackers suspected of plotting to use
computer keyboards as weapons of mass disruption. This should logically allow
for safer operation of websites and render them immune from hacking attacks.
Strangely enough, these laws and their enforcement seem to stop short
of assisting and protecting non-politically alined newsgroups and
independent political parties.
We append below other articles covering previous hackings on the
websites of the National Solidarity Party and Singapore Democratic Party. Is
this mere coincidence? Or is there more to this then meets the eye?
------- In Sg_Review@yahoogroups.com-----------------------------
SINGAPORE: Hacker attack on online news group
9 October 2003
Reporters Without Borders
THE INTERNET UNDER SURVEILLANCE
Hacker attack on online news group
Authorities urged to investigate attack on the Singapore Review
Reporters Without Borders today called on the Singaporean authorities
to conduct a thorough investigation into a hacker attack on the
Singapore Review, an online news group carrying messages critical of
the government, in order to find out who was responsible.
The attack occurred on 6 October, two days after the news group was
the subject of an article in a leading local newspaper, The Straits
"Although Singapore is one of the Asian nations most connected to the
Internet, online forums for free expression are rare there,"
Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said. "With
the city state closely controlling the news media and self-censorship
widely practised, Internet forums like the Singapore Review give
Singaporeans access to another view of current events, one free of
state influence," he said.
The hacker broke into the forum moderator's administrator account and
bombarded forum members with false messages, sending between 150 and
200 of these e-mail messages every 20 minutes. As a result, some 200
members withdrew from the group, which is hosted by Yahoo!
On its welcome page, the Singapore Review describes itself as
an "alternative to the government- controlled and propaganda-ridden
media in Singapore." It carries international press reports and
reports by human rights organisations. The moderator, who uses the
pseudonym Mellanie Hewlitt, encourages forum members to express their
own views, "an aspiration which the local propaganda-driven media has
been unable to fulfill."
Singapore's government tries to impose "responsible" use of the
Internet. In March, it set up a Cyber Wellness task force that is
supposed to teach the population how to behave on the Internet. Its
declared aims include preventing Internet uses from using pseudonyms
in chat forums.
The Singapore Review's web address is:
Reporters sans frontières / Reporters Without Borders
TEL: ++ (0) 1 44 83 84 62
FAX: ++ (0) 1 45 23 11 51
------------------ End forwarded message -----------------------------
Agence France Presse
9 Oct 2003
BC-AS-GEN--Singapore-Opposition Newsgroup Report: Internet
newsgroup hacked after criticizing Singapore government.
SINGAPORE (AP) An Internet newsgroup that criticized the
Singapore government was hit by an unidentified cyberspace
attacker two days after it was profiled in The Straits Times
newspaper, the paper reported Thursday.
The attacker tried to overload the e-mail accounts of
people participating in the Singapore Review newsgroup by
hacking into the editor's account Monday and bombarding the
group's 2,100 subscribers with 10 junk e-mail messages a
minute for 20 minutes, the newspaper said.
The Web site, which is part of Yahoo! newsgroups,
continued to operate.
The report cited the Singapore Review's editor, who goes
by the pseudonym Mellanie Hewlitt and is based outside this
wealthy Southeast Asian city-state, which imposes tight
controls on media, the Internet and political activities.
Police could not immediately say whether a complaint had
been lodged over the incident, or whether they'd investigate.
The Singapore Review's moderators couldn't immediately be
reached for comment.
Attacking Internet sites or newsgroups, a crime in
Singapore, is punishable by up to three years in jail and a
fine of up to 10,000 Singapore dollars (US$5,800), said
police spokeswoman Karen Chen.
Hacking is very serious and shouldn't be viewed as heroic
acts or mere playful pranks,' Chen said.
The Internet is the main vehicle for dissident viewpoints
in Singapore, but it's still constrained.
Ahead of the latest elections in 2001, Singapore passed
strict new controls on political use of the Internet.
Critics say such controls stifle free speech and limit
Singaporeans' ability to make informed choices.
The government argues that the laws curb false, malicious
rumors that could damage reputations or even threaten
"Attempting to control the Internet is like trying to
control the incoming tide or the orbit of the planets" The
Straits Times quoted Hewitt as saying.
On the Net:
Singapore Review: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sg?Review/
Agence France Presse
June 28, 2001
HACKERS infiltrated the cyber network of a Singapore opposition
political party and deleted all 8000 names on a public mailing list,
a party official said June 28.
"I don't know who the culprits are but I don't think it was done by
general hackers because the attack was very specific. I run so many
mailing lists but they specifically deleted this," said Steve Chia,
secretary-general of the National Solidarity Party (NSP).
He explained the NSP has four mailing lists -- one for party decision-
makers, another for party supporters, a third for general discussions
and the last to update the public and media about the party's latest
news and views.
It was the last mailing list -- nsp-prAyahoo.groups.com -- that was
destroyed Monday night, Chia told AFP.
As it is difficult to get past Yahoo's secure hosting network, Chia
suspects the culprits hacked into his personal computer and accessed
Once in, all it took was a click to delete the records. The mailing
list had been built from May this year and the NSP was hoping to
increase the numbers to 30,000 by the next general election.
The attack comes less than a fortnight after the Singapore government
announced that political websites would be regulated to prevent the
spread of false information as the competition heats up.
"The responsibility is on the content provider not to put up
information that is defamatory or libellous," said Chia of the need
He said that NSP's website and mailing lists were ways for the party
to present views to the public and that there should not be too many
controls on them.
"The more noise we make, the more credibility we gain, the more
people will be aware of us and feel threatened," said Chia, whose
party is part of a small opposition group in affluent Singapore,
where politics has been dominated by the ruling People's Action Party
since statehood in 1965.
The NSP is now looking at other e-group services and promises to beef
up security, but it may take some time.
"It could take anything from two weeks to two months to get the
mailing list up and running again. Meanwhile, the public has to make
do with updates on the website," Chia said.
Hackers hit SDP website again
14 Aug 2003
THE Singapore Democratic Party's (SDP) website has been hacked into
and disrupted for the second time this year.
The latest incident happened last Thursday at 2.50pm, SDP secretary-
general Chee Soon Juan said.
The website's host informed the party that a file had been modified
at that time, rendering the site 'dysfunctional'. Experts told Dr Chee that
it was probably the work of hackers.
He has 'no idea' who the mischief-makers might be, but told The
Straits Times that the party was trying to restore the site as soon as possible.
'The time taken for the repair will depend on the severity of the
damage,' he said.
As of last night, visitors of www.singaporedemocrat.org got a partial
download of the homepage, accompanied by the words 'Could not connect'.
Several links on the page bring up the same error message.
Several people had noticed the problems and e-mailed the party about
it, said Dr Chee.
The party had been relying on its website to announce its activities
and send out political information.
Its recent international youth conference for democracy, for
instance, was publicised largely online.
'Now that the website is crippled, the SDP will be severely
handicapped in reaching out to its friends and supporters,' he said, adding that there was no alternative he could use.
Earlier in the year, hackers hijacked the site and placed
pornographic material in its place.
Despite this second incident, Dr Chee says his party will not be
deterred 'from bringing information to Singaporeans'.
'Attempts to destroy our website will have the reverse effect of
galvanising our resolve to bring democracy to Singapore,' he added