Just last week, the Chinese internet erupted in fury after a Vietnamese customs officer allegedly wrote “Fuck You” on two pages in a Chinese woman’s passport that feature the nine-dash line. Instead of waiting for the two countries to sort out the situation, online vigilantes left their own “fuck you” at two Vietnamese airports.
Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat Airports had their screens and sound systems hacked by 1937CN, a Chinese hacker group last Friday afternoon. The flight information on the screens inside the airport changed into messages to Vietnam about the South China Sea and the sound systems began playing eerie music. Authorities at the airport were able to switch off the systems and had to manually check people in for the next couple hours, leading to flight delays.
Here are the messages that were displayed. Looks like the hacker group should consider hiring some graphic designers and spell checkers:
Nguyen Nhat, the Deputy Minister of Transport, clarified that the hackers didn’t get access to Vietnam Airlines’ search or booking system, nor was flight control and security affected. But, they did gain control of the interface that displays flight information on the screens.
The website of Vietnam Airlines was also hacked and displayed similar derogatory messages, VNExpress reports. 1937CN was also able to obtain the confidential information of some 400,000 members of the airline’s frequent fliers club.
The Ministry of Public Security is currently investigating the situation.
The hacker group released a statement after the attack was reported:
First to clarify our stance on the territorial dispute, the islands in the South China Sea belongs to China — the gods can’t even infringe upon our right. The Philippines think that they can question us with a piece of scrap paper [the Hague Tribunal Ruling], but that’s a pathetic and shameful attempt. This type of behavior is dangerous. We warn Vietnam, Japan, and India to not go down the same path.
Regarding the hack in the Vietnam airports, everyone is pointing their fingers at us. To respond to the media, we didn’t participate, carry it out, or accept the responsibility. If the Vietnamese people are upset with this, don’t be. Calm down, drink some tea, ride your motorbikes to the beach and think about the history of the place. Let go of your anger by shouting at the sea, “South China Sea belongs to China!”
Liu Yong, the founder of 1937CN, later explained what “we didn’t participate, carry it out, or accept the responsibility” means to the Global Times. He said, “We don’t admit that we hacked them, because if we do, it’s illegal. But at the same time, we don’t deny it because all the evidence points towards us. We’re now observing the aftermath of the situation.”
Your move, Vietnam?
By Sarah Lin
[Images via VNExpress / 1937CN]