Update: The article was edited to reflect that a blog from the Straits Times was hacked. The blog may not have the same content management system as the rest of the Straits Times website. Also, added a quote on what the encrypted message might contain.
Disclosure: Terence is a founder of NewNation.sg
A blog from The Straits Times, Singapore’s most read newspaper, has been cracked this morning by The Messiah, an individual (or group of individuals) who claims to be from the Anonymous collective.
The breach occurred after the same group put up a YouTube video threatening war with the Singapore government for adopting an internet licensing framework that critics say restricts freedom of information.
The Messiah defaced an article written by reporter Irene Tham, replacing it with a lengthy note saying that she had misrepresented Anonymous’ message while reporting on the YouTube video. It reads:
She chose to conveniently modify the sentence “war against the Singapore Government” into “war against Singapore”. That in our opinion can be very misleading and unfortunately we suspect that must have been her intentions. Look what she made us do.
The hacker then demanded that she apologize within 48 hours for her “blasphemous lies”, failing which he expects a resignation.
“In the event our demands are not met…we will place you in our ‘to do’ list and next time you wont be let off this easy,” he threatens. While the defacement is still viewable as a cached page, the original article by Tham has been taken down.
Curiously, the hacker left behind an “encrypted message” before signing off:
22 66 5e 7b a8 68 c9 0d f3 f0 47 c9 d2 e5 4a 33 02 be 20 f4 15 29 5e 7b 76 12 8d 5f 1f dd 59 44
An expert, who has declined to reveal his identity, said that the binary is likely a signature: “This is a common practice. It is a 256-bit digest of a message that is likely to contain his identity. If one day he wishes to claim credit, he can release the message, a plaintext that only he will know and no one can doubt him.”
Following the viral spread of the YouTube video, which has since been shared over 8,000 times on Facebook, the Straits Times reports that Singapore’s government agencies have been put on alert by the Government IT Security Incident Response Team, a task force set up to respond to cyber attacks. The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore says that police are investigating the matter.
Full message from The Messiah:
“ST is tempting fate” – newstation.sg
Greetings Irene Tham & Straitstimes.com,
I am The Messiah from the Anonymous Collective. We are a decentralized non-violent resistance movement, which seeks to restore the rule of law and fight back against the organized criminal class. We oppose any form of internet censorship among other things.
Allow me to explain our intrusion.
Earlier today upon discovering the existence of a Youtube video of ours (click here), a straitstimes correspondent by the name of Irene Tham chose to publicize an article distorting our words and intentions (click here). She chose to conveniently modify the sentence “war against the Singapore Government” into “war against Singapore”.
That in our opinion can be very misleading and unfortunately we suspect that must have been her intentions. Look what she made us do!
Irene Tham, since you had the ignorant nerve of invading our world (the internet) to speak blasphemous lies, then we took it upon ourselves to invade your tiny little space to voice our issues over a few matter. We sincerely hope you wont mind.
1) So dear SPH, in regards to Irene Tham, we will give her 48 hours to make an apology to the citizens of Singapore for trying to mislead them with her hate. In the event she refuses to apologize then we expect her resignation. If those demands are met we will be on our way. But in the event our demands are not met in the next 48 hours, we will place you in our “to do” list and next time you wont be let off this easy.
2) Next we would like the attention of the PAP community foundation that was involved with the baby scalding incident. We demand that you make known to the public your investigation details and discoveries. We advise you to do that before attempting to reappear on the internet. This is to save yourselves the trouble of taking it down again.
3) To those disappointed in us for not intervening in the Dhinesh Chandran case, allow us to explain. Anonymous have been watching this case for a while now. We feared that our aggressive protesting methods could affect the verdict of the appeal. This can be very disastrous if miscalculated. So now, Anonymous would like to appeal on behalf of the mother of Dhinesh Chandaran to the High Courts and AGC to give her the closure she requires.
Your verdict will demonstrate the level of humanity our justice system has on the low & middle class citizens. We will be watching, that we promise.
4) In regards to the murder of Tammy the puppy by Dr Esmee Koh from The Animal Clinic. All we can say to Dr Esmee Koh is that you are fucked. This we take personally and we have decided to attack you in ways you least expect. Making it a touch more personal. Stay excited!
5) In regards to CHC and Pastor Satan Kong Hee, we have time.
6) Finally to the Singaporeans who are behind us, we salute you! For the rest who are more distracted on unnecessary details such as deciphering the software we use, graphic we use or criticizing our skill sets. We genuinely sympathize with your inability to see the bigger picture and also your deep seeding insecurities. Nonetheless, we will fight on the behalf of your freedom.
The media has also misled our intentions by stating that we had plans to attack the infrastructure of Singapore on the 5th of November. That is ONLY our intention if the internet framework gets implemented. Not otherwise.
Instead on the 5th of November, we shall paint the streets red and black with our attires and when you see your fellow comrades in black and red, smile and shake their hand. Let us use that day to demonstrate our new undivided unity even in the amidst of all our differences. This is a very important stage in regaining your freedom.
(Editing by Paul Bischoff)