23 October 2018

Anonymous cyber group declares war on anti-democracy hackers

An international hacker organization calling itself Anonymous HK has declared war on hackers who attacked pro-democracy websites in Hong Kong ahead of a mock referendum on electoral reform.

However, the group’s identity has not been independently verified.

On Wednesday, the group uploaded a YouTube video in which it said it traced the attack to Chinese University of Hong Kong and to certain areas in the mainland. School authorities said there has been no unusual activity on their website. 

Taiwan-based newspaper Liberty Times reported on Thursday that hackers on Wednesday attacked the Public Opinion Program (POP) of the University of Hong Kong “more than 10 billion times in 20 hours” during testing of the electronic platform for the civil referendum. Online voting is scheduled for June 20 and 21 while physical balloting is set for June 22.

Hong Kong media described the hacking as a state-level attack, possibly from China, the report said.

Benny Tai, a co-organizer of Occupy Central, a civil disobedience movement spearheading the exercise, said the voting period might be extended to a week or even a month.

Tai said the hacking attack might encourage more people to vote. More polling stations will be set up.

POP director Robert Chung said back-up plans are being considered in case of another attack.

Also raided by hackers on Wednesday were the websites of Next Media Ltd. (00282.HK), whose owner Jimmy Lai supports genuine electoral reform. The attacks brought down the publisher’s Hong Kong and Taiwan online editions.

The report also quoted Tai as saying the electronic voting period will be extended to June 29 and 15 more polling stations will be available on June 22. From June 23 to 28, the City University of Hong Kong will operate night voting stations. It will be open all day on June 29.

Alex Chow, secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, said Occupy Central might push forward a planned occupation of the central business district after the release of a controversial white paper which asserts the central government’s full control and authority over Hong Kong. The document also says the central government is the source of Hong Kong’s promised high degree of autonomy.

Separately, cited Anonymous HK as saying people from all walks of life should join the fight against hackers and support groups opposed to a proposed development plan for Hong Kong’s northeast New Territories.

Anonymous HK has previuosly worked with some European and American organizations to attack Hong Kong’s National Education Centre and the Hong Kong Police, it said.

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