Singaporean man charged for hacking Prime Minister's website

Activist hacker group Anonymous is seen through the internet government website of Singapore Prime Minister Office circulated online on a smartphone in Singapore on November 7, 2013. A local man was charged today for defacing the PM's website. — AFP pic
Activist hacker group Anonymous is seen through the internet government website of Singapore Prime Minister Office circulated online on a smartphone in Singapore on November 7, 2013. A local man was charged today for defacing the PM's website. — AFP pic

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SINGAPORE, Dec 6 — A local man was charged in a Singapore court today for defacing the Prime Minister's website, in the latest crackdown against perpetrators of a recent spate of cyber attacks in the city-state.

Mohammad Azhar bin Tahir, 27, was charged with “unauthorised modification” of a section of the www.pmo.gov.sg website on November 7, causing it to display mocking messages and pictures from international hacker group Anonymous.

The hacking of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's website occurred a day before the website of the Istana, the official residence of President Tony Tan, was defaced in a similar manner.

Two Singaporeans were charged in court last week over the Istana incident.

Another local man, 35-year-old James Raj, has been charged with defacing the parliamentary district website of Premier Lee.

On Friday, police said it had discovered a database of elite customers of Standard Chartered Bank on Raj's laptop.

All the incidents are unrelated, police said.

According to court documents seen by AFP, Azhar, who faces nine other unrelated charges under the city-state's Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act, injected a computer code into the server of Lee's official website, causing a section of it to be compromised.

The hacked section, which was removed in the early hours of November 8, showed the message “ANONYMOUS SG WAS HERE BIATCH”.

“It's great to be Singaporean today,” read another headline next to Anonymous' trademark Guy Fawkes mask, a symbol of anti-establishment defiance worldwide.

In a video posted on YouTube on October 31, a person speaking with a computer digitised voice and wearing a Guy Fawkes mask said the group would “go to war” with the Singapore government over a recent law requiring news websites to obtain annual licences.

The Internet licensing rules, which came into effect in June, have sparked anger among bloggers and activists who say they are designed to muzzle free expression.

Singapore strictly regulates the traditional media, but insists the recent licensing rules do not impinge on Internet freedom.

None of the alleged hackers apprehended so far have commented on their ties with Anonymous, an amorphous group of global hackers. — AFP

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