Army denies purchasing devices to hack data

The army denied Tuesday it had procured devices to compromise web security technology, as claimed by the Civilians Against Single Gateway.

Army Commander Gen Chalermchai Sitthisart said the army had never purchased any device to hack the security link between web servers and browsers, known as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), saying the information released by the internet-based group was fabricated.

The security link ensures all data passed between a web server and browsers remains private.

Gen Chalermchai’s move came after the group Single Gateway:Thailand Internet Firewall, posted on Facebook what it claimed to be details of the army’s procurement.

They claimed they had hacked the army’s websites and found documents indicating the purchase of two SSL devices.

They asked about the objective of the purchase and said they suspected it might be used to decode and access personal data of the public.

Gen Chalermchai said the Army’s Cyber Centre, established early this year, had no need of such equipment as it was not interested in decoding data. The centre had bought some equipment, but the device hacking the SSL was not among them.

“The information was doctored. If you look at the list, it largely involved equipment and tools for the army’s engineers, but at the end there was the so-called SSL device. It isn’t the army’s standard practice; we don’t mix engineering tools with communications devices,” he said.

Gen Chalermchai said the army was investigating the matter and would take legal action against those responsible for spreading false information.

Asked if the army was the target of cyber attacks, Gen Chalermchai said hackers were trying to target government websites.

He brushed off the question of how the army would deal with these “cyber warriors,” saying the army was capable of identifying people who spread false information.

The internet-based group became active after the amended Computer Crimes Act was approved by the National Legislative Assembly in the middle of this month.

The group called on its supporters to launch a wave of cyber attacks targeting government websites in protest.

Col Winthai Suvaree, spokesman of the National Council for Peace and Order, said Tuesday the council did not discuss protests against the Computer Crime Act during its meeting.

However, the prime minister called on state agencies to step up their defences against cyber attacks, which have so far mostly involved the disruption of services rather than hacking for sensitive data.

Also on Tuesday, Maj Gen Ritthi Intharawut, director of the army’s Cyber Centre, urged the public not to fall victim to the cyber attack campaign while assuring that most systems were well protected against attacks.


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