Hacker who called himself 'The Messiah' jailed 4 years and 8 months

James Raj Arokiasamy was jailed for four years and eight months on Friday, after targeting computer servers of at least seven organisations in 2013. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
James Raj Arokiasamy was jailed for four years and eight months on Friday, after targeting computer servers of at least seven organisations in 2013. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A hacker who called himself "The Messiah" was jailed for four years and eight months on Friday, after targeting computer servers of at least seven organisations in 2013.

James Raj Arokiasamy had pleaded guilty last Friday to 39 computer misuse offences and one count of drug consumption.

The 36-year-old Singaporean operated from an apartment in Kuala Lumpur. He had absconded to Malaysia after skipping police bail in 2011 for drug offences.

The websites he targeted included those of the PAP Community Foundation, Ang Mo Kio Town Council and three linked to City Harvest Church. Many were defaced with taunts or threats.

He used software to scan various government servers, including those of the Prime Minister's Office and the Elections Department. He also hacked a Straits Times blog, and illegally accessed a server that contained bank statements of Standard Chartered Bank clients.

Affected organisations spent about $1.36 million assessing, repairing and restoring the relevant computer systems. To investigate the cyber attacks, the police alone expended more than 2,465 man-hours.

On Friday, Deputy Presiding Judge of the State Courts Jennifer Marie said there had been a high degree of premeditation, planning and sophistication in the way James Raj had committed the offences.

"The offences perpetrated by James Raj, in addition to harming the immediate victims, also have the wider-felt impact of triggering unease and offending the sensibilities of the general public," the judge said.

"Given the current climate where international and domestic terrorist security threats are more prevalent than before, a threat to the IT systems (and) cyber-attacks in a highly networked country like Singapore, should be visited with exemplary sentences."

pohian@sph.com.sg