Singapore will “spare no effort” to hunt down hackers from activist group Anonymous who last week threatened to wage a cyber war against the government, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Wednesday.
Lee told reporters the city-state had also strengthened its defences against such attacks.
“Our IT (information technology) network, the Internet, our communications have become an essential part of our business and our lives now,” the Today newspaper quoted him as saying in its online edition.
“And, therefore, when somebody threatens to do harm to it… we take that very seriously and we will spare no effort to try and track down the culprits and if we can find him, we will bring him to justice and he will be dealt with severely.”
It was Lee’s first comment since a person claiming to be from the international hackers’ group Anonymous threatened to mount cyber attacks against the government in protest at new licensing rules for news websites.
In the video posted last Thursday on YouTube, a person speaking with a computer digitised voice and wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, the global symbol of Anonymous, said the group would “go to war” with the Singapore government.
A day later a person claiming to be affiliated with Anonymous hacked a reporter’s blog on the website of the pro-government Straits Times newspaper.
The hacker also warned of further attacks on the tightly governed city-state if demands for greater Internet freedom were not met.
Lee said authorities had worked to make cyber infrastructure less vulnerable but IT systems were complicated and not entirely impenetrable.
Singapore strictly regulates the traditional media. Its new Internet rules have sparked anger in the blogging and social media community, which has raised fears they aim to muzzle free expression.
Authorities have said the new licensing rules do not impinge on Internet freedom.