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Hackers Attack SDP Website Again - No Clues from S'pore Authorities

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  • MellanieHewlitt
    By Mellanie Hewlitt Singapore Review 31 Jan 2004 Following a spate of attacks on the website of alternative newsgroups in 2003, hackers have again been busy in
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2004
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      By Mellanie Hewlitt
      Singapore Review
      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
      internet newsgroups.

      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

      http://www.categorynet.com/fr/cp/details.php?id=2255

      THE INTERNET UNDER SURVEILLANCE

      SINGAPORE

      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
      Times.

      "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:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sg_Review


      Version française

      Bureau internet
      ___________________________________________

      Reporters sans frontières / Reporters Without Borders
      TEL: ++ (0) 1 44 83 84 62
      FAX: ++ (0) 1 45 23 11 51
      internet@r...
      www.rsf.org

      ------------------ 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
      national security.

      "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/

      AP-TK-09-10-03 1154GMT

      ----------------------------------------------------------------


      Agence France Presse
      June 28, 2001
      SINGAPORE

      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
      his password.

      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
      for regulation.

      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
      Straits Times
      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
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