Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen’s website hacked

Hun Sen’s website hacked

Two of the images posted on Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government website page after it was hacked over the weekend. Photo supplied
Two of the images posted on Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government website page after it was hacked over the weekend. Photo supplied

Hun Sen’s website hacked

Hun Sen has vowed to hunt down a hacker who defaced the prime minister’s personal website on Saturday with images of government security forces beating protesters.

A video prefaced by a logo for the international “hacktivist” collective Anonymous and uploaded to YouTube by the user “Khmer Troop” showcases the defaced website with audio in Khmer threatening more damaging attacks unless Hun Sen stops “hurting people”.

The clip shows the site – which was launched last year – stacked with more than a dozen pictures, topped with a photo of the premier wearing a superimposed crown captioned “the emperor of Facebook”.

Underneath, photos show scenes of brutality, some at the hands of government security forces. The images depict the crackdown on striking workers in 2014 in Phnom Penh – where five people were shot dead – an attack on two opposition lawmakers carried out by members of the premier’s personal Bodyguard Unit, and the aftermath of the 1997 grenade attack against Sam Rainsy’s Khmer Front Party.

“This is just the so-called introduction or advice for Samdech; this is the first step, the first blow,” says the artificially altered voice, before threatening to release damaging information that would “impact upon the premier’s popularity greatly”.

“Samdech uses power just as he wants to by hurting other people . . . all these issues make people angry . . . if Samdech continues to cause problems, I will release it, I will make my second blow or slap to make Samdech wake up and be embarrassed . . . but if Samdech can turn over a new leaf . . . and stop causing problems, I will not release it.”

A message on Hun Sen’s Facebook page posted immediately following the attack linked the “cyber crime” to the opposition party, which “always looked for dishonest ways to attack [Hun Sen]”.

“No matter where the perpetrators come from, they must take responsibility before national and international law,” it said.

“The government’s experts on combating Information Technology (IT) crimes are investigating the source of the hackers in order to bring them for prosecution.”

Cambodia National Rescue Party spokesman Yim Sovann yesterday said the party knew nothing about the attack. ”The prime minister has many opponents,” he said.

Undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications Chun Vat said the ministry was waiting for data from the administrator of Hun Sen’s page to locate where the hack originated.

A Cambodian branch of Anonymous hacked at least 30 state website following the disputed 2013 election; however, the group went quiet after five of its alleged members were arrested. Two of the men were released after agreeing to work for the state’s cyber security team.

Niklas Femerstrand, a Phnom Penh-based cybersecurity and networking consultant, said the hackers likely used other people’s software to exploit a flaw in the site’s Joomla software, which was publicised six months ago, at which time an upgrade to fix the vulnerability was made available. “It’s nothing serious,” Femerstrand said.

“Had the prime minister not addressed this, chances are no one would have heard of it.”

Additional reporting by Shaun Turton


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen

    A group representing some of the largest apparel brands in the US and Europe – including Gap, H&M and ASOS – expressed “growing concern” on Tuesday over several controversial labour laws and ongoing court cases against unionists described as restrictive and unjust. In an open letter

  • Hun Sen says Montagnards don’t exist in Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen once again attacked ex-opposition leader Sam Rainsy for pledging “autonomy” to Montagnards, claiming – seemingly incorrectly – the ethnic minority does not exist in Cambodia. “We respect all minorities such as Jarai, Steang, Phnong, but we have never had Montagnards,” the premier said