Cyber Attacks On Malaysiakini – 5 Things To Do

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Apr 13 2011
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Malaysiakini.com, the second most visited news website by more than 17 million internet users in Malaysia was down from 11 am yesterday, thanks to cyber attacks. The website technical team believed the inaccessible was due to denial-of-service or DOS attack. Malaysiakini said both their servers which were hosted locally at two data-centres – TM Brickfields and Jaring – were attacked from overseas.

Coincidently, the same type of attack was launched about three days ago on Sarawak Report, a website that has done tremendous damage in exposing the corruption of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud. Although Malaysiakini merely reports the “actual” news on the ground as an alternative to otherwise bias news by government-controlled media, somehow someone very powerful and wealthy couldn’t handle the heat, especially during the current state election fever in Sarawak.

 Cyber Attack Malaysiakini

With current Chief Minister Taib Mahmud shaky position, it’s no-brainer that attempts were made to silence both Sarawak Report and Malaysiakini. Sarawak Report has since moved to new address – www1.sarawakreport.org – but it’s a matter of time before the attack starts again. Malaysiakini desperately moved to free hosting site wordpress and blogspot at malaysiakinicom.wordpress.com and malaysiakinicom.blogspot.com respectively after yesterday’s attack.

Moving forward, Malaysiakini should be smart enough to move their hosting elsewhere, far away from the Malaysian government territory. If this can’t be done due to whatever rules and regulations, then at least it should have backup or mirror sites overseas. With a phone call, local hosts TM and Jaring would scramble to do the government’s bidding. To remain status quo is not only foolish but also stupid to the first degree.

If the government is desperate enough to shutdown Malaysiakini during the current campaign period, the temperature can only goes up as the polling day gets closer. The present government has learnt the bitter lesson during the last Mar-2008 general election – results were spontaneously broadcast to the public knowledge from Malaysiakini website while the government-controlled electronic media were waiting for authorization to do so hence hours in delay.

Cheating would be made difficult if the results were already made known to the general public. And Malaysiakini can expect the same “pressure” on its servers especially during the ballot-counting period. As the government can only get dirtier as the clock in ticking to the polling day, Malaysiakini should have other backup plans besides relying only on wordpress and blogspot such as the following:

1)         Spread the news about the alternative links on wordpress and blogspot. Although it has been announced on its website now the link is up, chances are there’re readers who are not aware and not sure how to bookmark it.

2)         Host or duplicate your content into multiple hosting sites elsewhere. Hosting sites are dirt cheap and most of them charge less than US$10 / month.

3)         Get another domain name such as Malaysiakini1, 2, 3 and so on (example) as alternative, just in case. This is to prevent local ISP from disabling the domain name resolution of Malaysiakini under their “Boss” instruction.

4)         Have a common understanding of sharing content publishing with other sites (Sarawak Report and Malaysia-Today would some good choices *grin*) so that in the event things get ugly, information still can be published from your buddy’s website.

5)         Rely on bloggers community – even if Malaysiakini website is down due to attacks, the email is still alive. Use the conventional way of emailing your contents or information to other bloggers so that they can publish it on the website. Unless the government pull the plug and turn the country into dark-age of isolated island, they can’t possibly beat thousands of bloggers concern about the welfare of their country. So start networking with other bloggers now (*ahem* including FinanceTwitter.com, of course)

 Corrupt Government launch Cyber Attack

While wordpress and blogspot are relatively more independent from government’s intervention, sadly facebook may not be so kind so don’t depends too much on facebook as an alternative to publishing your contents. Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t really believe in freedom of speech.   

The results of Sarawak state election this weekend will determine the timetable of the next General Election. If current state government wins big, Taib Mahmud will stays for as long as he wishes while PM Najib is set to announce snap election anytime this year. But if the reverse is true, then the general election would be postponed indefinitely, not to mention the possible crackdowns on oppositions or alternate media such as Malaysiakini and bloggers.

You just don’t know what the government will do when it gets mad and crazy. Either way, it’s wise to prepare for the worst. If you’ve more ideas, kindly share it with us.

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