Hacked ABC Website after interview with the politician, who criticized Islam
The website of Australian TV channel ABC, which released an interview with Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who criticized Islam, was hacked. The information was published on the official website of the channel. This attack on ABC is regarded as an injustice act of aggression and vandalism, which proved the fragile security of the World Wide Web once again.
Geert Wilders is a leader of the “Party of Freedom”, one of the largest parties of Dutch Parliament. The politician and his supporters have criticized ‘Islamization’ of the country and offered to stop Muslim immigration to the Netherlands. Wilders is known for the phrase “I do not hate Muslims, I hate Islam” (Jones, 2013).
In 2008, the politician presented the film Fitna, showing how some verses of the Koran call for terrorism, anti-Semitism and violence against women and homosexuals. Video caused scandal in the Netherlands and Muslim countries. It was removed from the video sharing website LiveLeak, because of threats against its members. Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary, also declaimed against that video.
According to representatives of Australian TV channel ABC, hackers have stolen the personal data of almost 50,000 users who have previously registered on the program page devoted to the interview given by Wilders in 2010. The data included names, email addresses, geographic coordinates and postal codes.
Responsibility for the accident was taken by hacker, known as Phr0zenM
Previously, he was announced as the person responsible for the attempted burglary of the world famous service YouTube. He wanted to remove the provocative video depicting the Prophet Muhammad which was distributed in the network with free access. Hacker wrote in his Twitter that the channel was hacked for the fact that “Geert Wilders was given a platform to spread provocations”. Hacker added that stolen user database is available in the internet. The information is actually available in ten archives on several hacking sites and torrent trackers total attendance of which is up to several million people per day.
The patriotic motive is most evident for me. Today there is an open confrontation with Muslim countries. Perhaps, this attack was regarded by organizers and performers as a new step in the war on the Western world.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Australia has not given any comments on the hacker attack. At the same time, Timothy Pilgrim, the Australian Privacy Commissioner, refused to investigate the incident. The Commissioner stated that he has been satisfied with the way ABC is investigating the incident itself. The Commissariat, headed by Pilgrim, has wide range of authority, but other branches of the government of Australia do not depend on it and may decide to investigate on their own (Starke, 2013). The punishment in this case provides up to five years in prison. But there is a significant problem – a hacker is not a citizen of Australia, and even if he will be found, it is almost impossible to prosecute the attacker without the extradition agreement.
Of course, the situation immediately caused a resonance not only in Australia or the Netherlands, but also in the world community. And it is not only about protection of personal data and intellectual property, but also a new wave of racial hatred.
I believe that the hacker should be properly punished, and the norms of law are quite fair
After all, he substituted under threat not only the data, but also safety of the users – more than 50 thousand people. If we take the enacted classification of hackers, I consider Phr0zenM to be a representative of vandals’ category. Money or other valuable resources were not the goal of the criminal. In addition, the hacker was obviously an expert in this sphere, which eliminates the possibility of accidentally hacking or pioneers (Cooper, 2013).
Another question is whether it was possible to avoid this incident and stop the hacking in the very beginning. I think, the personnel of Australian channel were simply not ready for this kind of aggression and they do not have the proper experience of computer security.