KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 4 — The federal government evaded today from answering a question from an opposition lawmaker, who wanted to know if it had bought software from foreign security vendor Hacking Team in July to spy on Malaysians.
DAP’s Klang MP Charles Santiago had asked Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak to state if it is true that the government had purchase the equipment to spy on its own citizens and the need for such an move.
In reply, Salleh Said only said the government has a duty to protect the people’s private and confidential data and its diligence in monitoring cyber attacks.
“In Malaysia, the private and confidential data of the people is protected to avoid misuse.
“Stern actions will be taken via available laws to ensure that the rights of Malaysians are always safeguarded.
“In addition to this, the Multimedia and Communications Commission (MCMC) through its Network Security Centre (SNSC) also work to help monitor cyber attacks,” the minister said.
Details of dealings between Hacking Team and the Prime Minister’s Office, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and a Malaysian intelligence body by the name of MYMI surfaced after a large scale hack led to a 400GB data dump on July 5 of the online security vendor’s internal documents, source codes and email communications.
Invoices contained in the released data leaked by an as yet unidentified hacker or group of hackers under the name Phineas Fisher, linked the company to at least 36 countries around the world.
Aside from Malaysia, the list includes Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco, Nigeria, Sudan, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, the US, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Australia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.