Dharamshala – The Tibet Post International (TPI) website, an independent newspaper agency based in India, was hacked. While no regime nor group claimed responsibility. The newspaper says it was an intentional, malicious and sustained cyber attack.
TPI Managing Editor Yeshe Choesang said Thursday in a statement that from about 5:30 pm Thursday evening, readers of Tibet Post stories were redirected to the website of a blank page. "A few minutes later TPI webmaster found that the hacker had tried to inject some of the main website files with some sort of virus or rewrite them using their own web-code," the statement reads.
TPI webmaster said that he found such files inside the main structure of the TPI website and "suspicious contents" include "the names of the Chinese political figures."
The Post said it has taken defensive measures, which includes the removal of the files affected by the massive hacking. After cleaning the files, they also said it doesn't believe how there are any other issues affecting the website: www.thetibetpost.com
The TPI team also said that its website was shut down for 24 hours, as a result of a massive cyber-attack and ending the blackout that began on Friday around 5pm. Choesang said the hacking incident came a few days after publishing exclusive interviews, criticizing communist regime of China and particularly dedicated several pages for its major coverage of Dalai Lama's visit to US, under the headlines "peace" and "nonviolence".
There have been two previous cases where an intentional cyber attack caused physical damage to the TPI online newspaper and its sister websites, including the potalapost.com attack and several attacks on TPI's main website. The first system was not recoverable and caused maximum damage.
The team said this type of cyber-attacks are definitely concerning but the attackers did not display the sophistication to hacking record, and there is no evidence to show who the hackers might have been.
However they said they were still investigating whether the attack came as a result of their "strong opposition" to China's ongoing "political and religious repression," or something else. "We strongly condemn these cyber attacks that threats freedom of opinion and expression. Such an attempt cannot be prevent us from exercising freedom of information."
TPI says it closely follows developments inside Tibet, as well as reporting on the activities and workings of exile Tibetan institutions. "TPI believes that news coverage within a democracy must focus attention on people from all strata of society—from dignitaries and world leaders to those struggling with injustice and oppression," the statement said.