Hacktivist group Anonymous Malaysia’s #OpsWakeUp21 threat should be taken seriously, says security expert

Ashman Adam
·2-min read
Reed cautioned that sources of critical or confidential information must be reviewed to ensure data is appropriately secured and encrypted. —AFP pic
Reed cautioned that sources of critical or confidential information must be reviewed to ensure data is appropriately secured and encrypted. —AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 — A company that specialises in backup, disaster recovery and cyber security solutions and protection has said that Malaysia must be wary of hacktivist group Anonymous Malaysia’s threat.

In a report by English daily The Star, chief information security officer of Acronis, Kevin Reed, said that it is unlikely that the hacktivists will wage an “all-out Internet war” similar to its previous threats, but warned that it is likely to take some sort of action.

“The most likely attacks from Anonymous in this case are a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack or leaking data accessed through a vulnerability in the network,” he said.

Reed added that while it is good to review defences and policies, he believes that government websites do not need complete overhauls or drastic changes — as long as proper network and data flow monitoring are protected.

He added that sources of critical or confidential information must also be reviewed to ensure data is appropriately secured and encrypted.

“While their activities are often illegal, they should be taken seriously, and government organisations should be taking steps to ensure their data is properly secured so these groups do not have the opportunity to ransom or leak critical or potentially embarrassing data.

“Every action under the Anonymous flag boosts the movement's public image. Also, acting as Anonymous is a sure way to bring press attention to your actions,” he said.

On January 25, Anonymous Malaysia, a group of hacker activists or hacktivists resurfaced after more than five years to pledge a concerted cyberattack against government websites and online assets called #OpsWakeUp21.

In a video and posts released on its social media account, the group said this warning should serve as a “wake-up call for the government of Malaysia” which it has accused of keeping silent over the many data breaches and sales of personal information of citizens in the past few years.

It first came under media spotlight in 2011, when it took down 91 governmental sites including the government’s official portal, after Putrajaya blocked and censored access to websites such as torrent search engine The Pirate Bay.

In 2015, the same group demanded then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to resign over issues plaguing his administration with a deadline set for August 29 to coincide with the start of the Bersih 4 rally.

Anonymous is a decentralised international movement that started around 2003 and 2004, targeting governments, their agencies, and major corporations, usually holding anti-cyber-surveillance and anti-cyber-censorship views.

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