The Cambodian arm of the global hacking group Anonymous claimed late Sunday to have wiped clean the Deum Ampil (DAP) news website and its online archive, warning other news outlets that they will be targeted too if they publish “false information.”
The attack, which lasted about 12 hours, caused the usually busy page of the government-aligned site to go blank, replaced with a message that read: “Sorry, we are updating, we will be back soon.”
“We will never end, we will continue looking for justice for Cambodians,” Anonymous Cambodia said in a post on its Facebook page.
“The size of our hacking is getting bigger and bigger; the more you speak, the more we do,” the group wrote. “Recently, the [DAP] website did not back up and lost their important data. Please to other media centers: Do not publish false information as this website did, otherwise you are going to get the same result over the coming days.”
DAP director Soy Sopheap said the forced shutdown was highly destructive.
“The damage was quite large; it almost closed our website down,” he said, adding that further security measures are now being considered.
“I will try my best to protect it, because Anonymous warned that they would get us back and it concerns me a lot, as I have 200 staff working with me on that website,” Mr. Sopheap said. “It is not only me, but also my staff—they are at risk if we lose the website.”
Anonymous last week threatened retaliation against the April 7 arrest of two of its members—Bun Khing Mongkul Panha, 21, who goes by the online names Sex Machine and Black Cyber, and Chou Songheng, 21, who goes by Zoro. The pair were charged with the unauthorized access to an automated data processing system and obstructing the functioning of an automated data processing system.
Moeun Chhean Nariddh, director of the Cambodia Institute of Media Studies, said the attack on DAP appeared to undermine the group’s stated commitments to transparency.
“I think it is very sad that this website is targeted, because [whether] it is pro-government or anti-government, it is wrong to censor people who have the same interest in democracy,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Lauren Crothers)