Meridian Secondary School files police report over its site hacking; MOE says breach contained

No personally identifiable data was compromised, the Ministry of Education said.
No personally identifiable data was compromised, the Ministry of Education said.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/YOUNG ILLUSTRATOR AWARDS

SINGAPORE - A website for an art competition by Meridian Secondary School (MSS) was hacked, with the school filing a police report and taking down the website for safety precautions.

The school said in a statement on Thursday (Sept 7) that its Young Illustrator Award website was hacked into on Aug 29.

The vendor managing the website told the school the next day.

"As a safety precaution, MSS immediately worked with the vendor to take down the website," said the school.

It also made a police report and is now "working closely with the relevant authorities to resolve the matter".

Mrs Hilda Thong, principal of Meridian Secondary School, told The Straits Times that the website hosted data such as the names and e-mail addresses of those who registered for the competition.

The school also asked all those who were registered on the website to change their passwords and to alert the school if they notice "any suspicious activities". It said none of its other systems were affected, as the art contest website was a stand-alone system.

The Ministry of Education issued a statement on Thursday in response to the hacking, saying it "has always emphasised to our schools the importance of sound cyber security measures to mitigate against cyber attacks".

MOE said it immediately launched an investigation after it was notified of the hacking.

"Our preliminary findings show that the breach is fairly contained, and that no personally identifiable data had been compromised," said MOE.

It added that such attacks cannot be taken lightly, and it will continue to "share best practices in cyber security with all schools, to better equip them to safeguard personal and classified data under their care".

The now-disabled website - at www.siglap-youngillustratorawards.com - hosted an online art competition open to primary and secondary school students.

The contest, sponsored by tablet company Wacom, was in its fifth season, according to the Young Illustrator Awards' Facebook page.

Prizes included Wacom products including a Bamboo Slate and a Draw Creative Pen Tablet.

The Awards page posted on Facebook on Aug 31 saying it was "currently experiencing technical issues" on its portal, and it was extending the deadline while the issue was being fixed.