Wednesday, 13 November 2013

"Anonymous" Hackers arrested & charged in Court

Update 6 Dec 2013: 2 brothers arrested for hacking Singapore PM website

2 brothers arrested for hacking Singapore PM website
Two brothers have been arrested and will reportedly be charged in a Singapore court Friday for offences related to the hacking of the Prime Minister’s Office website last month. (Image: e27.co)

Two brothers have been arrested for allegedly hacking into the Singapore Prime Minister’s Office website, and are expected to be charged in court on Friday, according to reports. The brothers are Singaporeans, aged 21 and 27, and will reportedly be charged for offences under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act.

The police did not name the suspects, but said in a statement on Thursday that the two men had been arrested in connection with a November 8 report lodged by the web administrator of the Prime Minister’s Office website. If convicted of the charges, the men could receive a fine of up to S$10,000 (US$7,975) and jailed up to three years.

In an earlier report, The Straits Times had identified the men who were suspected of hacking into the Prime Minister’s site to be Mr. Mohammad Asyiq Tahir and his older brother, Mr. Mohammad Azhar Tahir.

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Two Singaporeans arrested for hacking president’s website

singapore-internet-hacking-anonymous.jpg
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s website displayed mocking messages and pictures from activist hackers’ group Anonymous. Photo: AFP

Two Singaporean men have been arrested for allegedly defacing the president’s website during a recent rash of cyber attacks in the city-state, police said on Thursday.

The men, aged 17 and 42, were arrested following a complaint lodged by the website administrators of the Istana, the official residence of President Tony Tan.

The website was hacked and displayed a crude image in the early hours of November 8, about an hour after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s website displayed mocking messages and pictures from activist hackers’ group Anonymous.

related:
Free District: 2 Singaporeans arrested for hacking of president's website
Hong Kong Standard: Two held for hacking president's site
Bernama: Two Singaporean Men Arrested For Alleged hacking Of Istana Website

Alleged hacker James Raj denied bail, pre-trial conference set for January


James Raj Arokiasamy (above), the 35-year-old who allegedly signed off as "The Messiah" when he hacked into a town council website, has been denied bail. -- ST FILE PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

District judge Soh Tze Bian, in agreeing with the prosecution during the bail hearing on Wednesday, said that while James Raj should be given access to his lawyer, he should not be granted bail given his history of having absconded in 2011.

James Raj then spent two-and-a-half years living in Malaysia "with no ostensible difficulty", the judge added.

"If not for the efforts of Malaysian police, he'd still be in Malaysia," said the judge, who did not give weight to defence lawyer M. Ravi's argument that the accused had strong roots in Singapore.

related:
Alleged 'Messiah' hacker James Raj is mentally fit to stand trial: IMH
Alleged hacker who used 'The Messiah' moniker facing fourth drug

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PM Lee: Law will come down hard on hackers

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He calls for regional cooperation against hackers and Asean integration in ICT

CONDEMNING the recent hacking incidents in Singapore as crimes, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong promised that those found guilty would be dealt with "to the full extent of the law" by the courts.

"We must not condone such malicious and harmful behaviour. It is not a prank when someone hacks websites and intrudes into computer systems. It is, in fact, a criminal act," he said yesterday.

Mr Lee was addressing some 200 people at the opening ceremony of the two-day Asean Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministers (Telmin) meeting at the Raffles City Convention Centre.

related: Asean warned, step up cyber defence

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Anonymous Could Be Caned in Singapore

Anonymous
“You may think you’re anonymous – we will make the extra effort to find out who you are,” Lee had warned

Six members of Anonymous face hefty fines, jail and in some cases a possible caning after being arrested and charged in Singapore for defacing websites, including one linked to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and spray-painting graffiti identifying the international hacking and protest group.

Among them is James Raj, a 35-year-old who allegedly posted a Guy Fawkes mask, symbol of the group, on the Ang Mo Kio district website late last month. Websites belonging to the prime minister’s office were also hacked following threats of a crackdown by the authorities and Lee. 

Raj, who uses “The Messiah” as his call sign, apparently carried out the attack from neighboring Malaysia. He faces up to three years in jail and a fine of $8,000

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Malaysian police help nab Singaporean "The Messiah" who hacked Singaporean government website

A Singaporean hacker calling himself the "The Messiah" was arrested in Kuala Lumpur last Monday for hacking into a Singaporean government website over two weeks ago - from a Kuala Lumpur apartment.

He was charged in a Singaporean court on Tuesday.

Singaporean police tipped of their Malaysian counterparts who swooped in on "The Messiah", 35-year-old James Raj Arokiasamy, in Dorchester Apartments in Sri Hartamas on Nov 4

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Singaporean Hacker Who Operated From Malaysia Charged

A suspected hacker was charged in Singapore today for allegedly hacking a website linked to the republic’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong from an apartment in Kuala Lumpur.

James Raj, 35, was accused of modifying the contents of a website belonging to the town council that manages the prime minister's constituency on October 28. He faces a jail term of up to three years and fine of up to S$10,000 (RM25,600) if found guilty, Reuters reported today.

The suspect, who is a Singapore citizen, was apprehended on November 4 after Malaysian police helped to track him down.

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Singapore Charges Six for Offenses Linked to Anonymous

Singapore authorities are investigating five men suspected of hacking websites belonging to offices of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the president after charging another with defacing Lee’s town council portal.

“Police has since established the identities of five suspects, Singaporean men aged between 17 and 45,” the police said in a statement on its website today. The hacking of Lee’s office portal and the president’s Istana website appear to be unrelated, the police said.

A 35-year-old Singaporean, James Raj, was separately charged today with causing unauthorized modifications of contents on the Ang Mo Kio municipal website by posting an image of a Guy Fawkes mask, symbol of the international hacker group Anonymous. Another five men were charged with vandalism for spraying slogans linked to Anonymous, including on the pavement outside a shopping mall on Nov. 5


15 Singaporeans 'assisting' police over 'Million Mask March' assembly

Illustration: hackers from Anonymous, who often wear Guy Fawkes masks similar to the one pictured when making public statements, said they had targeted Australian websites to protest reports of spying on Indonesia
AFP News/Raul Arboleda - Illustration: hackers from Anonymous, who often wear Guy Fawkes masks similar to the one pictured when making public statements, said they had targeted Australian websites to protest reports of spying on Indonesia

Fifteen Singaporean "protesters", between 16 and 27 years old, "are currently assisting" in investigations into possible offences of organising and/or taking part in a public assembly without permit, police said.

In a statement Tuesday evening, police said that a group of 12 men had gathered at the vicinity of City Hall MRT station on 5 November this year dressed in red or black. Three of them wore Guy Fawkes masks and a total fo 14 masks were found in their possession

Also on the same day, at about 10:15pm, two other men and a woman were seen with masks along Orchard Road.


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15 local Guy Fawkes protestors being questioned by police



Police today said 15 Guy Fawkes protestors are helping investigations into possible offences of organising and/or taking part in a public assembly without a permit.

All of them are Singaporeans aged between 16 and 27 years old.

In a media statement, the police said a group of 12 men had gathered at the vicinity of City Hall MRT station on November 5, 2013 at about 7pm.

related: Singapore arrests man, investigates others over hacker attacks

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Suspected 'Messiah' hacker charged in Singapore; 5 others rounded up for hitting govt sites

Police also have in custody five suspects who are assisting in investigations into the hacking of Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and Istana websites, according to the Straits Times. It added three suspects in the incident related to the hacking of the PMO site were family members. The other two suspects in the incident involving the presidential Istana site were Facebook friends. The men were aged between 17 and 45, added the article.

The three hacking incidents currently appear to be unrelated, police said in its statement.

Last week, the PMO and Istana sites were defaced a day after Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong pledged to "spare no effort" to "track down" hackers who targeted Singapore's IT infrastructure. He was responding to earlier threats by a hacker called "The Messiah", who claimed to be part of the Anonymous group and posted a YouTube video in protest of the Singapore government's online media licensing rule

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Suspected ‘Messiah’ hacker charged in court

Lawyer M Ravi shows the charge sheet for James Raj, the suspected "Messiah" hacker, to reporters outside the Subordinate Courts on Nov 12, 2013. Photo: Sion Touhig

The man alleged to have hacked into Government websites under the moniker “The Messiah” was charged in the Subordinate Courts today (Nov 12)


James Raj, 35, has been charged under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act with carrying out “unauthorised modifications” to websites here, including adding an image of Guy Fawkes mask on the Ang Mo Kio Town Council website. He is said to have used a computer in Kuala Lumpur to carry out the hacks.

He also allegedly added a banner with the message: “I have been to various sites and seen how they take the initiative to secure their systems. You have a brain & you have money. You had a choice. Don’t blame external factors (Anonymous) for this hack. The Messiah ;)” 


5 charged with vandalism

Five persons were charged in Court today (12 Nov) for vandalism of a wall, pillar and pavement of a building along Prinsep Link. They are Danial Ryan Salleh, 25, Mohamad Fadzly Aziz, 21, Muhammad Qamarul Arifin Sa’adon, 22, Muhammad Fitri Abu Kasim, 24 and Muhammad Redzwan Baskin, 26.

Police said that on 5 Nov, it received two reports of vandalism with writings purportedly linked to the ‘Anonymous’ group. Preliminary investigations by the police indicate that the 5 were not connected to the hacking charge faced by James Raj (‘Suspected hacker ‘The Messiah’ charged in court‘)

Police are still investigating the other vandalism cases.

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SINGAPORE POLICE MEDIA RELEASE: POLICE ARREST HACKER AND VANDALS

Police have arrested a 35-year-old Singaporean man for the recent series of hacking incidents into the websites of the Ang Mo Kio Town Council, the Straits Times Blog, People’s Action Party Community Foundation (PCF) and City Harvest Church co-founder Sun Ho. In a separate operation, five other men have been arrested for vandalising public property. Preliminary investigations indicate that the hacker and vandals do not know each other and their criminal acts were committed in isolation.

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James Raj, 35, charged for hacking Ang Mo Kio town council website
Yahoo! News Singapore, 12 Nov 2013
A Singaporean man was charged on Tuesday with hacking the Ang Mo Kio town council website in October. James Raj , 35, was charged under Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act.

His lawyer M Ravi said that Raj was charged for defacing a portion of the Ang Mo Kio town council website, adding the image of the Guy Fawkes Mask, displaying a statement addressed to Member of Parliament Ang Hin Kee and signing of with the name “The Messiah”.

The Straits Times reported that Raj was also charged for hacking The Straits Times blogs, the PCF website and Sun Ho's website. Full story

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A pretty messed-up Messiah

So he isn’t a Messiah at all – or he wouldn’t have been caught. Okay, no one’s guilty until proven to be so in a court of law, but James Raj seems such an unlikely saviour.

So far, the charges against him are for defacing the Ang Mo Kio Town Council website as well as that of City Harvest Church and the People’s Action Party Community Foundation. By the way, he did his computer mischief, apparently pretty low-tech stuff, in a Kuala Lumpur apartment. He was on the run from the narcotics authorities who had him up on three drug charges. Malaysian police acting on information provided by their Singapore counterparts arrested him on Nov 4 and handed him over.

So The Messiah (aka James Raj?) is not the same person behind the YouTube video threatening technological mayhem on Nov 5? And the hacks (or “exploitation of vulnerabilities” as is the official-speak) into the Istana and Prime Minister’s Office sites? Are they the work of Anonymous, the hacker collective?

The Politics of the Mask

Radical political struggle today wears a mask. From motorcycle helmets worn by German Autonomists in the 1980s to the Guy Fawkes masks worn at the #MillionMaskMarch that took place on Tuesday, Nov. 5, it is possible to identify the following global trend within radical Left movements of the last thirty years: almost all of them wear masks. The Zapatistas with their ski-masks, the Global Justice Movement with its black, white, pink, clown and other masked "blocs," and today Occupy and Anonymous, all wear masks. This is no coincidence. There is an historical and political significance to this phenomenon. It is part of a new set of political strategies that rejects political representation and identity in favor of direct democracy and equality.

On Tuesday, November 5th, protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks demonstrated in more than 400 cities around the world in celebration of Guy Fawkes day. From Barcelona to Tokyo, hundreds of thousands protested in the streets and on the internet against political corruption, corporate greed and NSA spying. Despite the explicit thematization of the mask, almost no commentary so far has taken seriously the political meaning of these masks. The closest so far is an article in the Gothamist by Marc Yearsley, titled, "Million Mask March Protests Government, Masks Profit Time Warner." The article points to the hypocrisy that the profit made from selling Guy Fawkes masks goes to a corporation that lobbies heavily "in favor of internet censorship." But it remains unclear why this group and others are wearing masks in the first place.

Thus, let me propose the following three explanations for the tactical usage of masks at the recent #MillionMaskedMarch

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We are Anonymous


– Yahoo! SG: James Raj, 35, charged for hacking AMK town council website, denied access
– TOC: The Messiah, the Crowd, and the State
– Breakfast Network: A pretty messed-up Messiah
– Tech In Asia: Dear journalists, stop spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt in Anonymous
– My Singapore News: They got The Messiah!
– A Singaporean In Australia: Arrest of ‘The Messiah’ Raises more Questions than Answers
– HTTP Error 405 Method not allowed: Scapegoat or Messiah
– Mothership: PM vowed to hunt down Anonymous on Nov 6, S’pore had a suspect on Nov. 4
– New Nation: S’poreans shocked The Messiah is balding


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Full coverage:
Sky News Australia: Singapore questions PM hacking suspects
Malaysiandigest: Singaporean Hacker Who Operated From Malaysia Charged
The Borneo Post: Singapore arrests man, investigates others over hacker attacks
Yahoo Sg: James Raj charged for hacking Ang Mo Kio town council website
Google: Realtime Coverage

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