In January 2021, the Malaysian government arrested 11 individuals for their hacking of government websites. The group, calling themselves Anonymous Malaysia, attacked 17 government and university websites as part of their #OpsWakeUp21 campaign. This campaign was set up to illustrate the vulnerability of government websites, and the group demonstrated this by publishing warning messages on the websites’ front pages.
Another group, Myanmar Hackers, took similar action, defacing websites of the government, military, media and more. This was in response to the current government, who gained illegitimate power after a military coup. Since then, the government has tried to block internet access for the whole country, as well as blocking social media networks to make the organisation of protests much harder. Aiming to pass laws which would give the government access to browser history and personal data, the government has seen various forms of resilience, including cyber threats.
Whether in the case of Anonymous Malaysia exposing government vulnerabilities, or Myanmar Hackers protesting their corrupt governments, both of these examples demonstrate the power that hackers can exercise against huge organisations. Using hacking as a means to facilitate a cause is seen here also as a tool for protest in a desperate time.