As our Malaysian government begins to renege on the MSC Bill of Guarantees and starts to censor block access to more websites, it is important to understand that there are ways to work around this for now.
The MCMC will illegally typically request that an ISP block access to a website and the ISP will normally comply by blocking the website on their own DNS cache. For example, TMNET has blocked TPB and any DNS request to them will return an error.
The DNS system is a way to convert a human legible address e.g. “thepiratebay.org” to a machine address e.g. 188.8.131.52.
The simplest way to work around this is to tell your PC to use a different DNS provider, such as Google’s Public DNS service. The instructions on how to do this is provided by Google.
This will work until our ISP blocks all external DNS access, which they can technically do. However, that would have very strong repercussions on the whole issue of censorship. That said, it is still possible to work around that even if they do block DNS services.
Now, this is an interesting development. The guys at LulzSec has declared war on any government or agency that crosses their path. From the ‘press release’, “If they try to censor our progress, we will obliterate the censor with cannonfire anointed with lizard blood.”
What makes it more interesting is that, “we are now teaming up with the Anonymous collective and all affiliated battleships.”
That makes things much more interesting. LulzSec has been recently targeting and attacking a bunch of sites, breaking in and getting a lot of private information – including a ton of passwords to porn sites.
They have declared that, “Top priority is to steal and leak any classified government information, including email spools and documentation. Prime targets are banks and other high-ranking establishments.”
This puts a whole new twist to the Jul 4th 1337 hour attack of OpMalaysia. I do not know how the second wave of attacks would pan out but I have the feeling that it should be more interesting than the first volley. I wish all those people working on the defensive lines – bonne chance, mes amis!
(I wonder if I know anyone behind the defensive lines…)
I just read an article in FMT that mentioned a second thread from Anonymous to take down the PMO website on July 4th at 1337 hours. It’s not 1.37pm, it is 1337 hours, dear reporters.
I watched through the video above a noticed a small Freudian slip. I was fairly impressed by the well written monologue, which is the reason why the slip caught my attention immediately – it stuck out like a sore thumb – “And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there?”
Notice it? If not, watch the video a few more times.
For the moment, I don’t think that this particular bunch of Anonymous hackers have been doing much harm. Taking down a government website is probably a fun exercise for both sides. It is not something that requires much sophistication, which is the reason why I am not quite sure that it is Anonymous doing it.
The other Anonymous attacks seem to exhibit far more sophistication. That said, since they are so loosely organised, they probably have very different sets of volunteers involved in it. While I do not advocate armed response, I can appreciate these things enough to be excited to see the results of what they can do.
I am still trying to discern the motive behind these attacks. While I have correctly identified the reason for it, I have yet to divine their true motives. Personally, I think that these hackers are going after the wrong target.
Anyway, the guys who are running the PMO website have a sense of humour – they advertise their server as an Atari/2600!
Seems that #OpsMalaysia has ended yesterday with a fizzle. While there were a number of hackers who had managed to attack a number of government related sites. However, most of these sites were able to recover quickly as corrective action was taken.
I would have to say that I do not think that most (or any) of these sites were attacked by Anonymous but were just attacked by other individuals or groups of individuals under the cover of the operation.
That said, I think that this is not the end of the operation as our country has basically extended an open invitation to subsequent waves of attacks. Sites, such as The Pirate Bay, have been blocked by some of our local ISPs and remain blocked.
However, it is really simple to work-around these blocks. Just point your DNS settings to one of the public DNS servers such as the ones provided by Google. You can get some configuration instructions here.
Then, you can continue to use TPB as if the censors weren’t in effect. While I do not condone illegal file-sharing, I do not think that our governments’ actions in this case was right. It should take more than just accusations to block a site.
Which court in Malaysia has found TPB guilty of breaking the law? Where’s the evidence? Where’s the due-process?
As I understand our Copyright Act, TPB is not guilty of breaking any law. Our law has a ‘fair use’ clause that allows a person to have up to three copies of a copyrighted work. But the most damning fact is that the TPB does not possess nor store any copyrighted works. It is just a search engine and an index. Hence, the government has no legal grounds to block TPB.
If the government wishes to block a search-engine or an indexer, they need to block Bing, Google, Yahoo as well.
I just read an article in TheStar saying that the hacktivist group – Anonymous – has scheduled an attack for a Malaysian government website later tomorrow. The article claims not to know why the hacktivist group is targeting the Malaysian government. The reporters are quite possibly daft if they cannot even hazard a guess.
I might hazard a pretty obvious guess – our censorship of 10 very important file-sharing websites, particularly The Pirate Bay (TPB).
Since the website runs on he .Net framework on top of IIS7, my advice to the government would be to call up Microsoft support immediately and get their people down to do all necessary, either to strengthen the security of the site, to go on the defense, or to stay around to collect useful forensics.
I wonder what the government was thinking when it asked the ISPs to block access to the list of file-sharing websites. It is just such a blatant abuse of power on the Internet that it invites an organised response. It is a threat on Internet freedom and hacktivists are very vigilant against such things.
I would have advocated a legal response, by local users mounting a legal action against the government. However, this hacktivism response is just to be expected as well.
Good luck, Malaysia.
Update: Turns out I was spot-on – it was the censorship. Our reporters are clueless.
I was just reading last month’s copy of E&T magazine about space exploration, when I noticed that Malaysia was listed amongst the 50-odd nations and regions with astronaut programmes. I guess that our angkasawan programme is a recognised one, regardless of whether he was just tagging along for the ride or otherwise.
While there are few outside of the US, Russia, EU and China who are able to send their own man into space using their own rockets, these other nations usually buy a seat on one of the rockets from the US or Russia. There are many reasons to do this and national pride is one of them.
On a personal capacity, I am also trying to stick my finger into the space-age pie. I will blog more about this later, if things come to fruition.