30 December 2013 07:30 | By Ilsa Chan
Singapore’s top newsmakers of 2013


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If 2012 was the year of lust, then this must be the year of hacks. Websites around the world fell victim to international activist hackers' group Anonymous.

In Singapore, Anonymous went on a hacking spree to demand the scrapping of the Internet licensing rules, which require news websites to obtain annual licences. But all that came to an end after 35-year-old James Raj Arokiasamy (pictured, right), who identified himself as “The Messiah”, a member of Anonymous, was charged with hacking Ang Mo Kio’s Town Council website. He is also suspected to be behind the recent spate of hacking incidents, including websites belonging to City Harvest Church's co-founder Sun Ho and The Straits Times blog.

So when the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) website was defaced on November 7 with messages and pictures from Anonymous, fingers naturally pointed at the hacker group. However, brothers Mohammad Asyiq Tahir, 21, and Mohammad Azhar Tahir, 27, were later arrested and charged with the hacking. Together, they face a total of 16 counts under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act.  They include the unauthorised modification of content on the PMO site and hacking into various social media accounts of Ah Boys to Men actor Ridhwan Azman.

The same day PMO’s website was defaced, businessman Delson Moo (left), 42, and student Melvin Teo (centre), 17, allegedly penetrated the Istana website to "test for vulnerabilities". The pair, who have been charged in connection with the hacking of an Istana webpage, did so by entering a line of computer code into the search box on the website that allowed him to display texts and images stated in their scripts.

Other websites that were hacked in November include pre-school chain Carpe Diem and Seletar Airport.

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