Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Unseen Singapore #13 Political Series: PM Lee Milking Political Mileage Out of "The Messiah"

On 11 November 2013, prominent alternative news website The Online Citizen broke the news that one James Raj Arokiasamy has been charged under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act for carrying out suspected hack attacks from a unit in Dorchester Apartment at Jalan Sri Hartamas in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  

After the arrest was let out of the bag by lawyer M Ravi, sceptical online netizens went into overdrive with many claiming that James Raj was simply a scapegoat for the PAP government. Furthermore, with the inaccessibility of the Straits Times website on the morning of 12 November 2013, it further fed the conspiracy theory that the real "Messiah" was still out there. On the other side of the spectrum, government supporters were quick to wax lyrical on the decisive action taken by the government against such cyber threats.  

However sexy this conspiracy theory sounds, there is unfortunately no credible proof to prove its validity. If this conspiracy was true, it would require the buy in of the Malaysian authorities and that in itself is a bit of a stretch given the at times acrimonious bilateral relationship. Instead, The Unseen Singapore would like to draw your attention to something more interesting. An insight into the psyche of the current political leadership and how they manipulate such events to their advantage.

According to newspaper reports, Mr James Raj Arokiasamy was arrested in KL on 4 November 2013 with the help of the Malaysian police. At that point, the Singapore public was unaware of the identity and the arrest of "The Messiah". After keeping mum throughout the spate of hacking incidents, PM Lee finally broke silence on 6 November 2013 proclaiming that "it's not just anything goes, and you're anonymous, therefore there's no responsibility. You may think you are anonymous. We will make that extra effort to find out who you are".

Publically, this 6 November statement was a taunt to Anonymous but on hindsight, it was PM Lee's calculated move at milking maximum political mileage out of this hacking incident. Knowing full well that the suspect had already been arrested on the 4th, the Prime Minister put out the taunt to play up the gravity of the situation so as to emerge the hero when the "crisis" was resolved down the road.

Little did PM Lee know that his taunt would be replied in force with the subsequent hacks into the PMO and Istana website, resulting in a major slap in the face for himself and the government. This incident clearly demonstrates the current government's wanton lush for short term gains  (milking political mileage out of the hacking incident) than to consider the broader security implications for Singapore and Singaporeans.

In spite of this orchestrated PR exercise that backfired spectacularly, we would like to salute the men and women in the civil service who worked tirelessly to bring the ones responsible for the spate of hacking incidents to justice.  Bear in mind that with or without the PAP, the civil service will continue running like a well oiled machine. 

Like us on Facebook

Monday, 4 November 2013

The Unseen Singapore #12 Conspiracy Series: November 5th Anonymous DDOS Action?

According to Digital Attack Map, Singapore was electronically attacked for 10 puny minutes this afternoon. 

Anonymous can you please get your act together? Or is my conspiracy theory of this entire show being a governmental plot true?

*Grabs Popcorn* Stay tuned for more updates! 

The Unseen Singapore #11 Conspiracy Series: What If The Government Was Part Of Anonymous?

When news broke that Anonymous was going to take on the Singapore Government, I did a victory dance around the house! Finally someone had the gumption and the balls to get in the ring with the big bag dog and engage in smack down with them. 

Judging from my instinctive response and the responses from almost every single netter online with exception of a few party poopers, we all know whose side we are on in this David vs. Goliath match up. Anonymous is like an insurgency, engaged in hit and run tactics, doing damage at will. It is time for the government to have a taste of their own oppressive medicine just like how the Vietcong dished it to the technologically superior American forces. 

Feeling elated with Anonymous, I went to do some reading on them and to put things simply, they are a collective of individuals who will band together over specific issues, engage in massive hacking action and disappear into the night. This sounds like a recipe for success doesn't it? Being able to harness the strength of the collective but yet being able to remain elusive and outside the long arms of the law. 

Then this silly thought suddenly struck me, being this loosely formed group, wouldn't that also make Anonymous susceptible to infiltration by government forces? Why do I say this? We all know that government worldwide recruit hackers into their rungs and the Singapore government is no different! So what is stopping these "white" or government dog hackers from joining up with Anonymous to advance the government's agenda? Given the unprecedented anonymity of Anonymous, there is no name list, there are no leaders and so anything goes. How do we know the Anonymous hackers are real vigilantes that we support and not the lap dog hackers from the government? Anonymous' greatest strength is also its weakness!

With this inkling in mind, I began to question who stands to gain out of this entire debacle. On the surface, the government stands to lose the most when their pristine reputation is tarnished. Imagine a crazy scenario where an international hacker group hacks into CPF and siphons out the money and redistributes it to Singaporeans, the Singapore government would lose all credibility and be overthrow in an overnight rebellion. But that has not happened yet has it? 

Let's take stock of what Anonymous has done up till now. They made verbal threats about taking down the Singapore government but honestly with nothing concrete or significant to show for it. They have done hacking some may say but if you look closely they are some lousy sites that belong to the incumbent which is inconsequential to the running of the government. If Anonymous truly wanted to hack, why not hack CPF or the SPF? That would throw a brickbat at the government's face and shatter people's confidence in this undemocratic government.  Sad to say, the hackings till now have been low level and does not do any tangible damage to the government except for a pinch in the arm.  

This is where my wild imagination comes in. What if, all these attacks were orchestrated by the government themselves under the guise of being Anonymous. It is possible isn't it? Till now, attacks have been mild and more bark than bite. Who stands to gain from this? If the government manages to repel this Anonymous attack, the MSM would have a field day praising the government's preparedness to the high heavens. And even if Anonymous manages to take down a couple of other low level sites, the government can use this to merit the pumping in of more money into cyber security, on top of the already huge defence budget. If we recall, the government just announced a $130 million dollar cyber security package to boost our cyber defences. What coincidental timing don't you think? The beauty of this is nobody knows who these members of Anonymous are and there is no way to ascertain if these are government lackeys masquerading as Anonymous freedom fighters. And the Singapore government is well positioned to make the most out of it. 

But then again, all these are just my speculation but my senses tell me that something is fishy indeed. The low level attacks and the anonymity of the attackers makes for a good bogey man for the government to attack no?

Call this a conspiracy theory but for the sake of Singapore, I hope these Anons are for real. If they are here to do a mega wayang to push through another government agenda of increasing the defence budget down Singaporean's throats, I will be pissed as hell. In a weird way, I hope that the government will catch Messiah so that it can dispel my conspiracy theory of being a government plot. Otherwise, it smells smelly, fishy and convenient. Alternatively, to prove that Anonymous is the real deal, do some serious damage and if Anonymous is capable, take down the secret police ISD.