Hackers take out Thai court websites over Koh Tao ruling

Hackers take out Thai court websites over Koh Tao ruling

The image posted to Facebook by hackers claiming responsibility Wednesday for taking down 294 Thai justice websites.
The image posted to Facebook by hackers claiming responsibility Wednesday for taking down 294 Thai justice websites.

Hackers associated with the Anonymous collective have knocked offline almost 300 Thai court and government websites in retaliation for the death sentences handed down to two Myanmar men for murdering two British tourists on Koh Tao.

In a Facebook post to a non-official Anonymous page, the hackers, believed to be the same Myanmar group that defaced Royal Thai Police websites on Jan 5, said they had shut down "all Thai Court of Justice websites in protest over the ‪#‎KohTao murder verdict."

"Anonymous is supporting the campaign to ask tourists to boycott Thailand 'until such time changes are made with the way Thai police handle investigations involving foreign tourists'," the post read.

The post included the graphic bearing the name "Blink Hackers Group" that replaced the home pages of a reported 13 Thai police websites earlier this month, along with a Thai flag emblazoned with a hand giving a middle-finger gesture.

The group also listed the 297 websites attacked. Random checks of those on the list all resulted in failures to connect as of 1.30pm.

The list of sites includes every Court of Justice website, plus the Chiang Mai Tourist Rights Protection website.

The Blink Hackers Group have taken the front-line position online in wide-ranging protests in Myanmar over the Christmas Eve sentencing of Zaw Lin and Wyn Zaw Htun for the September 2014 rape and murder of Hannah Witheridge and murder of David Miller.

Critics of the judgment claim the 22-year-old men were tortured by police and forced to confess to a crime they did not commit, then were railroaded in a botched investigation using questionable DNA evidence.

Anonymous is a loosely organised band of "hacktivists" that has launched cyber attacks against businesses, terrorist groups and governments it feels have affronted society's norms. Fringe groups often claim Anonymous support to launch their own attacks.

Anonymous, however, has been vocal in its criticism of the handling of the Koh Tao case. It prepared a 40-minute video detailing what it claims were the shortcomings in the investigation and has tacitly or explicitly endorsed several cyber attacks against the Thai government and police.

Earlier, police refused to firmly state that the Koh Tao ruling was the motivation for the cyber attack and, unlike Wednesday, hackers did not explicitly state their reasoning.

At least five websites were penetrated on Jan 5 -- the Police Clearance Certificate Centre, Metropolitan Police Bureau, Marine Police Division and the Phichit provincial police office - and the hacker group claimed eight others were taken down.

After many of the home pages had been restored a police spokesman even made a taunting comment to Reuters:

"They're not good enough to hack into our system and steal any of our data," Pol Gen Dejnarong Suthicharnbuncha told the news agency.

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