Want media attention? Don't use Twitter: security expert

Social media platforms are failing users as a way to express dissent to a wider audience

A security expert has warned that organisations should prepare for more politically motivated Web site attacks, as hackers seek more effective vehicles for gaining large-scale media attention.

Security analyst and author Nigel Phair, says that in the wake of the hack this week of the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) Web site by Indian hacker Atul Dwivedi - aimed at gaining awareness of attacks on Indian students in Australia - organisations needed to look to their Web site security.

“If you want to get your message out to the media what better way to do it than deface the RAAF Web site,” Phair said. “It’s better than going on Twitter and Facebook. Out of all the other mechanisms to get your message out there this is one good way of doing it.”

Phair says that most organisations were unlikely to consider that their Web site could be used as a platform for political comment and dissent.

“What's interesting about this hack is not the criminality, but the vehicle. [Hackers] might use [an organisation's] Web site as a defacer, not as a hack against them or any beef against that organisation but as just a vector for getting their message out there.”

The RAAF's site, believed to have been hacked yesterday, said: "This is a warning message to Australian Government. Immediately take all measures to stop racist attacks against Indian students in Australia else I will pawn all your cyber properties like this one."

Australia has recently come under fire from Indian students as being a racist and unsafe country to study in following a spate of violent attacks against them.

Despite an Australian delegation being sent to India earlier this month to reassure Indians that Australia is a safe place to live and study, it seems that not everyone is satisfied with the outcomes of this.

The RAAF Web site was shut down for around eight hours as a result of the defacement, however the Department of Defence said no sensitive information was compromised and the security breach is under investigation.

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