By THE NATION
AT LEAST five suspects have been detained for alleged involvement in the latest hacking of government and security agency websites, some of which were knocked out of service temporarily due to cyberattacks, National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) sources have said.
The crackdown is expected to lead to the round-up of about 100 people believed responsible for the attacks after changes to the new Computer Crime Bill were approved last week by the National Legislative Assembly.
An online netizen group against the single Internet gateway (#opsinglegateway) announced its opposition to the new computer crime law on its Facebook page and vowed to attack state websites if the legislation was not scrapped.
NCPO sources said wrongdoers would be prosecuted under computer crime and national security laws as authorities had evidence to implicate the suspects.
“We will interrogate the suspects for seven days after which they will face trial in the civilian court. A preliminary investigation shows that they will also face charges under the national security law for hacking into and attempting to disable the computer system of the Comptroller-General’s Department,” a source said.
To further retaliate against passage of the new Computer Crime Bill, the anti-single Internet gateway group said on Facebook that their next target was “Baan Loong Tu” or Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s home, which was understood to mean the websites of the Armed Forces.
The online group said it had already attacked websites of various police units, namely, traffic police, immigration police, highway police, and Phitsanulok provincial police.
The group also issued a statement of principles after completing the first anniversary of opposing the single Internet gateway plan. It said it was not politically motivated and there was no political colour in its online campaign, which aims to ensure freedom of expression and justice in cyberspace.
The group would also try to ensure that the general public suffered the least damage while its mission was carried out. Its cyber warriors were anonymous, it said.
Army commander-in-chief General Chalermchai Sittisart said some websites of the NCPO and the Army’s finance division had been attacked by hackers, which delayed its workload being processed, and the wrongdoers would face legal action if they did not stop.
“I can reassure that they could not steal our data because we have installed a maximum protection system. There is no impact on budget disbursement. We want to create an understanding with all the parties concerned and a preliminary investigation shows those involved include youths,” he said.
Pol Colonel Krisana Pattana-charoen, spokesman for the National Police Bureau, said cybersecurity experts had stepped up measures to prevent hackers from accessing the police personnel database, after the anti-single Internet gateway group threatened to expose personal data of 4,000 police, including their salaries, medical expenses, and bank accounts.
Previously, the Highway Police Division’s database was hacked and personal data regarding salaries, medical expenses and bank accounts were posted on the Internet.
Meanwhile, Angkhana Neelap-aijit, a member of the National Human Rights Commission, said people can lodge complaints with the commission if their personal data is hacked and rights are violated and the online campaign to disrupt state websites results in their details being posted on the Internet. She said operators of government websites affected by hackers have to take action against the wrongdoers, while those personally affected by the release of personal data on the Internet can take further legal action.
Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of the Democrat Party, said many young people opposed the new Computer Crime Bill hence the government would have to reassure them about protecting freedom of expression and other rights.
A debate on the pros and cons of the new Computer Crime Bill at Chulalongkorn University yesterday also heard concerns about potential abuse of the new law and details of rules and regulations which will be issued to enforce the new legislation.
Arthit Suriyawongkul, an expert on netizens’ rights, said the bill could be abused to silence government critics, especially those working for non-government organisations.