Hacker threatens July 1 chaos
A Hong Kong member of the US-based hacking group Anonymous - who claims to have paralysed several government websites with cyber attacks - says he plans similar attacks in Hong Kong and the mainland as part of the July 1 protests.
The man, who calls himself 'T', says protesters are resorting to hacking because normal demonstrations are hampered by public order laws and the police. He claimed in an interview that he and others had earlier disabled the websites of the police, Judiciary, Department of Justice and Correctional Services Department in retaliation for his arrest for trying to mobilise attacks through his Facebook page.
But all four departments said their websites had been operating normally. T said other netizens had volunteered to attack the www.gov.hk website, but a government spokesman said this had also been operating without any hitches.
'Normal protests cannot allow people to air their grievances now,' T said. 'They are either regulated by laws relating to public order or blocked by police. When officers close half of the roads, there is nothing you can do.'
He said he was now considering attacks on Hong Kong government websites and sites on the mainland, on the July 1 handover anniversary. He had not decided on the theme, but it could be raising awareness of people, especially mainlanders, on the suspicious death of veteran June 4 dissident Li Wangyang .
The 23-year-old hacker said he used a method termed DDoS - distributed denial of service - to mount the attacks by swamping the websites with vast amounts of data. He said the attacks on the four departments had been triggered by his own arrest and several other prosecutions he thought were political.
T was arrested in May for an unsuccessful Facebook effort to mobilise attacks on the website of the Intellectual Property Department to protest against a proposed legal amendment that criminalises parodies of copyrighted works. His threads were subsequently closed down.
He was taken away by officers again after a telephone interview with a Chinese-language newspaper last Thursday. Police did not lay charges but extended his bail period until August. T said he then decided to extend his attacks to other departments and vowed more 'massive' attacks if police actually charged him.
Barrister Albert Luk Wai-hung said anyone who had either vowed or actually made computer attacks in Hong Kong could be charged with 'access to a computer with criminal or dishonest intent', regardless of the location of the website servers.
The Judiciary, Department of Justice, Correctional Services Department and police said they would continue monitoring the performance of their websites and the office of the chief information officer said security measures had been introduced for the government network.
Anonymous, founded in 2003, and notorious for attacking the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Visa card network and electronics giant Sony, has about 20 members in Hong Kong.