The Malaysian Government became the latest target of the online hacker group Anonymous last night. At least 41 government sites were disrupted by the attack, although the Malaysian Government is not releasing the specific names of the sites in question. Officials were quick to point out that “no personal or financial data were compromised” in an attempt to downplay the magnitude of the attacks.
The attack, codenamed “Operation Malaysia,” started shortly before midnight on Wednesday. It was retaliation for the government’s censorship of the Wikileaks site. Anonymous gained notoriety when they temporarily crippled PayPal and Mastercard for cutting off the financial services of Wikileaks. The Anonymous group has also attacked sites in Syria, Tunisia, Egypt and India for similar acts of internet censorship.
“The Internet is here for freedom, without fear of government interference,” the group said in a posting. “We fear that if you make further decisions to take away human freedom. We are obligated to act fast and have no mercy.”
“Our monitoring of the situation showed that there was a reduced level of attacks by 4.00 a.m. this morning and upon further evaluation, so far, we gauge that there has been little impact on Malaysian users as a result,” the communications commission said in a statement.
Last week the Malaysian Communications Commission ordered internet service providers to block access to ten prominent file sharing sites.
Malaysia has an active internet culture, mainly because mainstream media is tightly controlled by the government. In the past, Several bloggers have been arrested and charged with sedition, often subject to long jail terms without trial.