The government of Singapore intensified its security against cyber attacks after threats from a group of hackers known as Anonymous.
A hacker who claimed to be a member of the group claimed that he hacked the blog of a reporter on the website of Straits Times newspaper on Friday. The hacker warned that Anonymous will carry out further attacks and demanded a widening of internet freedom in Singapore.
Attacks in response to annual license fees
The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore confirmed that some of its users were experiencing difficulty in accessing some of its online sites. The largest publisher in Singapore said that no group claimed responsibility for the incidents.
In a video posted on YouTube, an individual wearing a mask claiming to be a representative of Anonymous said the government of Singapore would suffer cyber attacks unless it stops the implementation of new rules requiring owners of news website to pay annual licenses.
The person said, “We demand you reconsider the regulations of your framework or we will be forced to go to war with you. Every time you deprive a citizen his right to information, we will cause you financial loss by aggressive cyber intrusion.”
Officials in the country explained that the new licensing rules for news websites provide clarity on the current standards for contents, and do not curtail internet freedom.
IDA will beef up security
In a statement, Singapore’s IDA said the government takes cyber security and threats to its information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure “very seriously.”
“Government agencies have been on heightened vigilance and have enhanced the security of their IT (information technology) systems in response to the declared threats against the government’s ICT infrastructure,” said the IDA.
In addition, the IDA explained that some of the government websites were inaccessible because of a glitch that happened during maintenance on Saturday. The incident was not caused by any hacking activity. The maintenance of the websites is part of the initiatives of the Singaporean government to boost its cyber security.
The IDA further stated, “Over the next few days, while maintenance is in progress, some government websites may continue to experience intermittent access.”
Meanwhile, Singapore Press Holdings, publisher of Strait Times said it is investigating what caused the inaccessibility of the website of the newspaper on Sunday and Monday morning.