* Attacks started at 1530 GMT Wednesday
* 51 govt websites hit, access to most restored
* No personal or financial data stolen-police
(Adds government announcement)
By Liau Y-Sing and Niluksi Koswanage
KUALA LUMPUR, June 16 Fifty-one Malaysian
government websites were hacked into overnight but no personal
or financial data was compromised, government officials said on
Thursday, as the nation became the latest target of a cyber-war
waged by online activists.
The Southeast Asian country has a vibrant Internet culture
that has gained a mass following in an environment where the
mainstream media is tightly controlled.
The government has in the past charged bloggers with
sedition, often detaining suspects for long periods without
In the attacks, 91 websites were hit including 51 government
websites, the industry regulator, the Malaysian Communications
and Multimedia Commission, said on Thursday.
Access to 76 of the 91 websites attacked since shortly
before midnight on Wednesday had been recovered, it said.
The attacks followed a warning by Internet vigilante group
Anonymous, which said it would attack the government's official
portal to punish it for censoring WikiLeaks, the website that
aims to expose governments and corporations by leaking secret
"Most government-related websites are (now) accessible to
the public and have either not been affected by the service
outages or have recovered from the attacks," the commission
It did not name the sites which were attacked but targets
included the government's online portal
http:www.malaysia.gov.my, and the web pages of the fire and
emergency services department www.bomba.gov.my and the land
public transport commission www.spad.gov.my.
Malaysian police chief Ismail Omar told Reuters no personal
or financial data had so far been stolen but the authorities
were trying to determine the extent of the attacks.
It was not immediately clear if the attacks were launched by
Anonymous or other hackers.
Anonymous is a grouping of global activists lobbying for
Internet freedom who frequently try to shut down the websites of
businesses and other organisations that they oppose.
The activists gained prominence when they temporarily
crippled the websites of MasterCard and Paypal that cut off
financial services to WikiLeaks.
A spate of cyber attacks on multinational firms and
institutions, from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to
Citigroup to the International Monetary Fund, has raised
concerns that governments and the private sector may struggle to
defend themselves against hackers.
In an earlier Internet posting, Anonymous said Malaysia's
censorship of films and television shows and its blocking of
file-sharing websites amounted to a denial of human rights.
The communication commission last week banned 10
file-sharing sites and ordered Internet service providers such
as Telekom Malaysia and Maxis to block
The restrictions have outraged ordinary Malaysians, and
several people took to Twitter to express support for the
"Now to count how many sites have gotten whacked so far,"
said a tweet posted by Rhyden. "I knew the government's IT
defence team was pathetic."
(Additional reporting by Razak Ahmad; Editing by Nick Macfie)