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Sunday, December 31, 2000 Hacker wipes out Parliament website By Sim Leoi Leoi
The official website of Parliament has been hacked and all its information wiped out.
As at yesterday, the hacker--who called himself "topeira'' had removed the website at http://www.parlimen.gov.my and replaced it with some foreign words and a Brazilian address on the rock group Garbage.
This was the first time the Parliament website, which was put up earlier this year, had been hacked.
DAP chairman Lim Kit Siang alerted the media over the hacking in a statement yesterday.
Parliament Speaker Tun Zahir Ismail expressed regret over the incident and deplored such actions as having "not profited or benefited anybody''.
"There's no reason for anybody to want to hack into our website.
"The website was put up as part our duty to enlighten the public on what the Malaysian Parliament has achieved.
"It doesn't harm anybody and nobody should take offence (to it),'' he said.
Zahir said now that all its information had been completely erased, the Parliament staff would have to spend extra time to re-write the website.
"I'll be looking into the matter with my staff when the office re-opens next Tuesday. We'll also discuss what measures we can take to prevent such hacking in the future,'' he said.
Asked whether this could be the work of anti-government elements, Zahir said:
"I don't know. Sometimes, people just want to experience the feeling that they can hack into a website.
"Whatever information we have put up does not harm anybody. We are just producing the facts. Why should anyone take objection to our website?'' he said.
Lim said the hacking of the Parliament homepage was not noticed earlier as "it was one of the least visited Internet sites in the country''.
"It is an utter disappointment to Malaysia's ambitious plan to be an IT-savvy nation,'' he said in a statement.
Lim added that the hacking had raised questions of security and quality of government homepages.
"How can there be a mindset of an e-government service when webmasters like those responsible for the Parliament homepage can be unaware of hacking on their sites for days?'' he said.
Backbenchers' Club secretary Datuk Husni Hanadzlah said Parliament would have to increase its security and safety features for its website in the future.
"We tend to take security for granted. But hacking being part of the IT culture, we should be more cautious.
"I also hope that Parliament will be able to employ IT specialists to install a new website which is more current, comprehensive and attractive to Internet surfers besides countering hacking problems,'' he said.
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), December 31, 2000