A souvenir booklet distributed to guests printed the Indonesian flag the wrong side up. As a response, many Indonesians have characterised it as a “fatal error” at the SEA Games 2017.
Yesterday, Datuk Dr Amiruddin Abdul Wahab, the chief executive officer of CyberSecurity Malaysia, confirmed that 33 sites have been defaced by hackers.
“The incident is real and we are currently investigating, monitoring and working closely with other agencies to address this,” said Datuk Dr Amiruddin.
Following the rise of a viral hashtag #ShameOnYouMalaysia, a group calling themselves ExtremeCrew has taken responsibility for the attacks, displaying their screen names on the hacked websites.
The websites are hijacked to display images of the upside-down flag as seen in the souvenir booklets, along with the message “My national flag is not a plaything.”
Our more recent observation of some of the defaced sites also showcase different messages, such as “Never ignite a flame, if you cannot extinguish it” and “Don’t turn my nation’s flag upside down, fool! It’s not a toy!” among others.
On top of these defacements, CyberSecurity Malaysia has also reported that they have been notified of confidential information leaks, and possible Distributed Denial of Services (DDOS) attacks.
Malaysian Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has since apologised profusely for the error, including a closed-door meeting with the Indonesian Minister of Youth and Sports Affairs Imam Nahrawi.
The two ministers have since shaken hands and said that the issue was resolved to a room full of press.
Khairy has also overseen the reprinting and redistribution of corrected booklets.
As of time of writing, the official SEA Games website is still up and running.
Nevertheless, here is the list of websites that have been defaced by the hacker group.
There have been reports from various sources that have listed the number of affected websites to be close to 100, and even 140+.
Of these defaced websites, some of them, such as EasyParcel has been able to regain their original homepage.
Some others have resorted to taking down or suspending their websites in the meantime, while others continue to display ExtremeCrew’s messages.
The list of websites include:
Among these, there were also government-tied sites that have reportedly been hit, including:
At time of writing, both of these sites have been taken down and have yet to be restored to their original state.
The takeaway? Protect your systems.
These attacks prove the importance of ensuring security on your websites, in case all of your hard work developing SEO is ruined by disgruntled hackers.
CyberSecurity Malaysia has advised organisations to protect themselves and their websites by following a 10-step guide.
In their recommendation, CyberSecurity Malaysia advised organisations to apply in-depth defensive strategies in protecting their networks, utilising tools like Firewalls, IPS, IDS and etc. These can either prevent, or at least log the more generic attacks.
Organisations should also make sure that systems, applications and third party add-ons are updated with the latest patches and upgrades.
On top of that, organisations are also advised to update their operating systems or software to their latest versions, as the older versions may have a vulnerability that can be exploited by intruders.
A full list of these recommendations can be found here.