Malaysia Airlines confirms hacking of domain name system; says bookings and data unaffected

The website’s front page was replaced with an image of a tuxedo-wearing lizard, and read “Hacked by LIZARD SQUAD – OFFICIAL CYBER CALIPHATE”. It also carried the headline “404 - Plane Not Found", an apparent reference to the airline’s los
The website’s front page was replaced with an image of a tuxedo-wearing lizard, and read “Hacked by LIZARD SQUAD – OFFICIAL CYBER CALIPHATE”. It also carried the headline “404 - Plane Not Found", an apparent reference to the airline’s loss of flight MH370 last year with 239 people aboard. -- PHOTO:  REUTERS

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) on Monday confirmed that its Domain Name System (DNS) was compromised by hackers but assured customers that the temporary glitch did not affect their bookings and user data remained secured.

In a statement, MAS said its DNS was compromised and users were re-directed to a hacker website when the URL www.malaysiaairlines.com was keyed in.

"At this stage, Malaysia Airlines’ web servers are intact," said the statement.

"The airline has resolved the issue with its service provider and the system is expected to be fully recovered within 22 hours.

"The matter has also been immediately reported to CyberSecurity Malaysia and the Ministry of Transport,'' said the statement.

MAS also assured its customers and clients that its website was not hacked and the glitch will not affect their bookings and user data remains secured.

AFP reported earlier on Monday that the MAS website was commandeered by hackers who referenced the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and claimed to be from the “Lizard Squad", a group known for previous denial-of-service attacks.

The website’s front page was replaced with an image of a tuxedo-wearing lizard, and read “Hacked by LIZARD SQUAD – OFFICIAL CYBER CALIPHATE”, AFP said.It also carried the headline “404 - Plane Not Found", an apparent reference to the airline’s loss of flight MH370 last year with 239 people aboard.

Media reports said versions of the takeover in some regions included the wording “ISIS will prevail”.

The Lizard Squad is a group of hackers that has caused havoc in the online world before, taking credit for attacks that took down the Sony PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live network last month, according to AFP.

The ISIS, an extremist Sunni Muslim group, has seized large swathes of Syria and Iraq, where it has declared an Islamic caliphate.

It has drawn thousands of fighters from across the globe to its anti-Western cause, and shocked the world with its video-taped executions of journalists and other foreigners it has captured, the most recent being Japanese security contractor Haruna Yukawa whom it claimed on Sunday to have beheaded.

A second Japanese captive, Kenji Goto, being held by the militants has also been threatened with execution.

The ISIS group, which uses social media in recruiting and spreading its message, is believed to harbour ambitions of launching a cyber-war against the West.

It is unclear why MAS was targeted. But concern has been rising in Malaysia after scores of its citizens were lured to the ISIS cause in the Middle East, AFP reported.

Malaysian authorities last week said they have detained 120 people suspected of having ISIS sympathies or planning to travel to Syria.