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Hacker agrees to surrender

The 29-year-old man from Nakhon Si Thammarat who allegedly defaced the PM's Office website and left derogatory messages on Wednesday has agreed to surrender this morning, a police source said yesterday.

An arrest warrant is being sought for the suspect, said Pol Maj Gen Pisit Pao-in of the Technology Crime Suppression Police.

The man from the southern province had infiltrated TV Channel 3's website before, officials said.

Hacking is an offence under the Computer Crime Act punishable by up to five years in prison or a fine of up to Bt100,000 or both.

The hacker could also be penalised for posting defamatory messages, he added.

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung said investigators knew the identity of the hacker and have evidence against him. However, he did not identify the man.

The motive of Chandrakasem Rajabhat University graduate is still unclear, though Chalerm said it it was not necessarily political.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told reporters that the attack might have just been a test of the security of the website and did not have anything to do with her recent speech in Mongolia, in which she described her brother, former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, as a political victim.

The hacker left offensive messages alongside a funny image of Yingluck.

The prime minister had her Twitter account broken into in October 2011. A 22-year-old university student from Songkhla, Ekkawit Thongdiworakul, was caught and is being prosecuted under the Computer Crime Act.

Prinya Hom-anek, a cyber-security expert, said the PM's Office website, like other government websites, was not secure enough and could be broken into even by amateur hackers.

The website of the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the PM's Office, which also came under attack on Wednesday, has been hacked every year since 2006, he said.

"The government should check all its websites. Those that are not qualified should be closed and improved before they are opened to the public," he said.

"The fact that Thai government websites are easy hacking targets hurts the country's security image on the global stage. The weak defences of government websites also draw hackers from outside to use Thailand as a base to launch cyber attacks on other countries. This may risk the relationships between Thailand and those countries," he said.

Prinya is a member of the Thailand Information Security Association and president and CEO of ACIS Profession Centre.

There are plenty of advanced hacking tools and hackers do not need to have much knowledge to use them to breach Thai government websites, he said.

The Unlimited Hacking Team has denied any involvement with the PM's Office website hacker, who claimed to be part of the group, Prinya said.

"This group consists of Thai and foreign hackers. They said they did not hack the PM's Office website though they have hacked more than 1,000 government websites," he said.

Sak Degkhoontho, president of the Electronic Government Agency, said the EGA's plan to patch up holes in government websites got the Cabinet's nod two weeks ago but has yet to be implemented.


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