Anonymous hacks Singapore PM to protest media crackdown
The web site belonging to the Prime Minister of Singapore appeared to have been hacked by members of the Anonymous hacking collective just a day after he said state authorities would hunt down anyone posing a threat to Singapore’s cyber-security.
Anonymous threatened to launch attacks on the government’s data infrastructure if lawmakers refused to loosen new restrictions on news websites that free speech advocates say are a way for the government to curb media freedom. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told local media Wednesday authorities would find and punish those who threatened to infiltrate the state’s information hubs.
“When somebody threatens to do harm [to Singapore’s information infrastructure], we take that very seriously and we will spare no effort to try and track down the culprits,” Lee said. “If we can find him, we will bring him to justice and he will be dealt with severely. You may think you’re anonymous – we will make the extra effort to find out who you are.”
His comments were quickly undercut the next day when Anonymous’ signature Guy Fawkes mask appeared on a section of the government website www.pmo.gov.sg, next to a sarcastic headline reading “It’s great to be Singaporean today.” Next to that message was one reading “PM Lee warns hackers: We will track you down – even if you think you’re ‘anonymous.’”
The most defiant message stated simply: “ANONYMOUS SG WAS HERE BIATCH.”
All of the defacing messages were quickly deleted and, although the rest of the site was not impacted, the government’s Infocomm Development Authority told Agence France-Presse authorities were investigating the security breach diligently.
Independent websites and social media pages have become the front lines for political debate in Singapore, where the mainstream media has been essentially neutralized by an unbending pro-government stance.
This incident coincides with Anonymous hacking the Twitter account of Singaporean movie star after he defended the government in a series of tweets that also decried the hackers.
Among the messages sent by Ridhwan Azman, who is perhaps best known for assaulting his girlfriend despite appearing in a film called “Ah Boys to Men,” were the messages “What has this masked guy ever did for you? What have the government done all this while? LOOK AROUND.”
“#Anonymous SG is bullshit. You guys think it’s easy to run the government? Some of you can’t run your own life? And this masked guy is a hero?” he wrote. In another, Azman advised his followers to “Adapt to the government. Be thankful. Nothing is easy. Halloween is over, stop wearing stupid masks.”
Then, suddenly, his account began tweeting a series of messages supporting Anonymous and sent a link to a YouTube video with an ominous warning for the actor.
“We have seen that you have been dissing the legion,” said the Anon in the video. “Also, claiming that we are a joke, in all attempts to trend such is now nothing but inactive accounts. What you thought was a joke is now real.”