A group of hackers who claimed responsibility for the hacking of numerous government and even Chinese websites since 2012 has found a new target.
The Twitter account of Maine Mendoza a.k.a. Yaya Dub which currently has 2.4 million followers was hacked by Anonymous Philippines, a group of “hacktivists” Tuesday night. The group, which has justified its hack attacks as a form of protest against the Aquino government, initially posted a link to its Facebook page that included links to numerous government websites (mostly microsites) that it had also defaced.
Clicking the websites revealed a video and message urging people to join their #MillionMaskMarch on November 5 in front of Malacañang Palace. The group later tweeted an apology to AlDub fans for its intrusion and promised to give the account back to Maine.
“Sorry po if napadaan kami sa account ni yayadub, ibabalik din namin to sa tunay na may-ari.. Nagmamahal, Anonymous Philippines,” the group said in a tweet that it had deleted along with its other messages around noontime Tuesday—which suggests that Maine has regained access to her Twitter account.
On its Facebook page, Anonymous Philippines also posted this “press release” to explain its actions:
“Dear fans of Aldub, we sincerely apologize for the recent intrusion of your beloved Idol’s Twitter account. You can rest assure that we don’t have any malicious intent towards the said individual or any programs pertaining to that person. We just wanted to send a message to the public, and using Maine’s account is one of the easiest way we could find. Rest assured that we are doing our best to contact the respectful owner of the said twitter account with the purpose of giving them back their access.
We already know we will get a lot of negative comments.
But sometimes, you must give a sacrifice for the cause.”
As the group had expected, many fans were outraged by the hack on Yaya Dub’s account, which was recently declared to be among the top five fastest growing Twitter accounts, alongside those of Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Ellen DeGeneres.
Among the issues against the Aquino government that Anonymous Philippines cited for their hacking activities in the past were the pork barrel or PDAF scandal, the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or Cybercrime law and the Mamasapano incident that resulted in the killing of 44 commandos of the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force or SAF 44.
Prior to the most recent hack attack, which the group called “Bloody Tuesday” on its Facebook page, Anonymous Philippines also criticized the recent NAIA “tanim bala” or “laglag bala” controversy, which they alleged is the handiwork of the Office of the Transport Service (OTS) in collusion with elements of the Airport Police.
In 2012, the group even went as far as to hack over 200 Chinese government and commercial websites and declared “Scarborough Shoals is ours!” at the height of the tension involving the ongoing territorial dispute between the Philippines and China.
In 2013, a suspected leader of the group was arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation’s Cyber Crime Division in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte.
Former Justice Secretary and now senatorial aspirant Leila de Lima said the suspect, a 24-year old Information Technology student identified as Rodel Plasabas, was nabbed for violation of Republic Act 8792 or the E-Commerce Law and used the online handles, “Reaper”, “anonymousbutuan” and “Anon Reaper”.
No other arrests have since been reported and it was not known if Plasabas’ case prospered in the local court where he was charged.
Either alluding to the recent hack attack or just mere coincidental, the current top trending hashtag on Twitter is #AlDubTheVisitor.
He is a well-known expert in mobile security and malware analysis. He studied Computer Science at NYU and started working as a cyber security analyst in 2003. He is actively working as an anti-malware expert. He also worked for security companies like Kaspersky Lab. His everyday job includes researching about new malware and cyber security incidents. Also he has deep level of knowledge in mobile security and mobile vulnerabilities.