Websites of at least three Thai state agencies have been hacked by a group believed to be from Tunisia, who claim to be acting for Muslim people in Myanmar.
On Sunday night, 23 August 2015, websites of three Thai public agencies, namely http://www.lamphun.go.th/ of the local administration of the northern province of Lamphun, http://www.msup.msu.ac.th/about_us.htm of Mahasarakham University’s publishing house of the northeast and http://llkhospital.com/news/index.php of Lamlukka Hospital in central Pathum Thani Province, were hacked by a group calling themselves ‘Fallaga Group’.
The group claim to be Tunisian hackers acting ‘just for our Muslims in Burma’.
The main webpage of the three websites went blank between 3-4 am on Monday.
At 7:30 am on Monday, 24 August 2015, three other public administration websites in Tak, Sing Buri, and Sa Kaeo provinces also went blank, but there has been no confirmation whether these three websites were hacked by the same group.
The Lamphun provincial government website after being hacked by Fallaga Team on Sunday night, 23 August 2015
The website of Lamphun provincial government, where the most detailed message from the hackers appeared, said “HACKED BY FALLAG GASSRINI & DR LAMOUCHI TUNISIAN CYBER RESISTANCE FALLAGA TEAM!.... Hello World ! This website has been hacked by FALLAG GASSRINI and DR LAMOUCHI Tunisian cyber resistance Alfallaga team ... so admin don't worry this is just a message and you can reset your website ... so our message not just for the admin it's for all the world you can see the background picture and you will understand and click at the button below to read our full message.”
Before the hacked websites went blank, the hackers posted many pictures of Tibetan monks performing religious ceremonies for people who lost their lives during the April 2010 earthquake in Tibet; the images were shared virally on the internet as pictures of Muslim people killed by Buddhist monks.
At 4 am on Monday, the Lamphun government website went blank. An hour earlier, the Lamlukka Hospital website went blank with a message “hacked by Fallaga Team” while, at around the same time, the webpage of Mahasarakham University’s publishing house, also met the same fate with the message “hacked by Tunisian Fallaga Team just for our Muslims in Burma”.
The website of Mahasarakham University’s publishing house after being hacked
According to “THE MEMRI CYBER & JIHAD LAB”, a website that monitors the activities of cyber jihadists, the Fallaga Team is a group of Islamic hackers who in 2013 hacked a Danish website that supports LGBT rights, Sabaah.dk . However, the hackers claim that they are not involved with ISIS, the Islamic State movement.
The group takes its name from a Tunisian militant group who fought against the French colonialists.
In June 2013, Vice News conducted an interview via skype with a person identified as “DR. X L”, one of the members of the Fallaga Team. The interviewee revealed that there are about 60 members in the group aged between 18-32 years. He mentioned that he was introduced to the idea of ‘Al Jihad Électronique’, electronic jihad, in 2007 and joined the Fallaga group in 2012.
The hacker, who was then 19 years old, told Vice News that on 7 April 2013 the group carried out an online attack called ‘Storm Attack 3’ on Israel, hacking 6,000 Facebook accounts and releasing credit card information on 14,000 Israelis, including an attack on the DNS system in Israel.
According to Techworm.net, the Fallaga Team in January 2015 joined other electronic jihadists to carry out an operation called #OpFrance, attacking over 19,000 websites in France after an unidentified group of hackers in France carried out an online operation called #OpCharlieHebdo to report on the suspects in the Charlie Hebdo massacre on 7 January 2015, which took 12 lives.