The Singaporean government vowed last week that it would crack down on the Internet hacktivist collective Anonymous after group members threatened cyberattacks upon it, and it’s staying true to its word.
In an announcement on the Singapore Police Force’s website on Tuesday, officials said that police had arrested and charged a local man for the recent defacement of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s website. Although the police did not identify the man, Bloomberg named him as 35-year-old James Raj, who is allegedly known to Internet circles as "The Messiah."
The statement read: “Police have arrested a 35-year-old Singaporean man for the recent series of hacking incidents into the websites of the Ang Mo Kio Town Council, the Straits Times Blog, People’s Action Party Community Foundation (PCF) and City Harvest Church co-founder Sun Ho. In a separate operation, five other men have been arrested for vandalising public property.”
Reuters reported that if found guilty, Raj could face jail time of up to three years and be fined as much as S$10,000 ($8,000). According to the charge sheet that the publication was shown, Raj is accused of hacking the government’s web server from an apartment in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Anonymous renewed its threats against Lee after he pledged to track down members of the group, promising that the government would “spare no effort” to identify and punish the responsible parties. According to the Wall Street Journal, Lee’s remarks were made in response to threats from Anonymous.
“When somebody threatens to do harm to [Singapore's information infrastructure], we take that very seriously and we will spare no effort to try and track down the culprits,” Lee told reporters during an exercise on counterterrorism. “If we can find him, we will bring him to justice and he will be dealt with severely.”
“You may think you’re anonymous -- we will make the extra effort to find out who you are,” he added. Lee was also quoted as telling Singapore newspaper Today that the country’s “IT network, the Internet, our communications have become an essential part of our business and our lives now.”