Normal access restored to Malaysia Airlines website

The restored Malaysia Airlines website at 7pm. -- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM WWW.MALAYSIAAIRLINES.COM
The restored Malaysia Airlines website at 7pm. -- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM WWW.MALAYSIAAIRLINES.COM

KUALA LUMPUR - The website of Malaysia Airlines, which was commandeered for several hours on Monday by hackers, is back online.

The hack attack, whose motivation remained unclear, was claimed by the "Lizard Squad", a group that has taken credit previously for denial-of-service attacks around the world. They referenced the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremists and threatened to expose data taken from the carrier's servers.

It was not clear why the troubled airline was targeted, but the Lizard Squad said on its Twitter feed that it was "Going to dump some loot found on malaysiaairlines.com servers soon." Visitors to the website were re-directed to another page bearing an image of a tuxedo-wearing lizard and reading "Hacked by LIZARD SQUAD - OFFICIAL CYBER CALIPHATE".

Normal access to the site appeared to be restored later Monday, but it marked another bout of bad press for the beleaguered national carrier, AFP reported.

The unexplained loss of MH370 and the airline's poor handling of the crisis severely damaged public confidence in the carrier, sending business into a tailspin.

It has since been taken over by a Malaysian government investment fund seeking to rescue the company.

A few hours before the website was restored, Malaysia Airlines had released a statement confirming its Internet domain name had been compromised, re-directing users to the dummy page.

The airline said the matter was also reported to the country's cyber security department. "Malaysia Airlines assures customers and clients that .. this temporary glitch does not affect their bookings and that user data remains secured," the airline said in the statement.