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Singapore News Site Hacked After ‘Anonymous’ Warns of Attacks

A group called Anonymous hacked a website owned by Singapore’s biggest newspaper publisher, having warned earlier it will mount cyber attacks on the government over its online media licensing framework.

A hacker in the group that goes by the name the Messiah posted on Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. (SPH)’s Straits Times website, saying the newspaper distorted its words by writing that Anonymous is at war with Singapore instead of the government. A video uploaded on the YouTube website this week showed a person in a Guy Fawkes mask demanding Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s government reconsider its Internet regulations.

Singapore from June 1 required websites that regularly publish news on the city state to be licensed and pay a S$50,000 ($40,200) bond, to be forfeited on the publication of “prohibited content” that “undermines racial or religious harmony.” Yahoo! Inc.’s Singapore news website was among an initial list of 10 that was subject to the rules, which the government said would mean news sites are regulated in the same manner as other media.

“We demand you reconsider the regulations of your framework or we will be forced to go to war with you,” according to a computer-generated voice on the YouTube video. “For every time you deprive a citizen his right to information, we will cost you financial loss by aggressive cyber intrusion.”

Singapore’s government agencies were put on alert, the Straits Times reported today. The group’s the Messiah also claimed responsibility for hacking the website of the Ang Mo Kio Town Council this week, the municipal body of Lee’s constituency.

Singapore Press Holdings has taken affected blogs off the Straits Times website after a section of the site was hacked earlier today, the company said in an e-mailed statement. A police report had been made, the company said.

Anonymous has sent similar YouTube messages to governments including the Philippines and the U.K.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shamim Adam in Singapore at sadam2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at rmathieson3@bloomberg.net; Stephanie Phang at sphang@bloomberg.net

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