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HomesingaporeTikTok bans account of Singaporean hacker who claims he hacked into Mindef’s...

TikTok bans account of Singaporean hacker who claims he hacked into Mindef’s systems

SINGAPORE – The TikTok account of Singaporean hacker James Raj Arokiasamy was banned on Wednesday after he posted videos challenging the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) to prove he had not gained access into its systems.

This comes after Mindef on Monday had refuted claims made by the 44-year-old that he had “hacked into Mindef and into a lot of government sectors” about a decade ago.

In a video posted on Monday night in response to Mindef’s statement, Mr James Raj said he would “go on national social media and apologise” if the ministry can prove he had never gained access to its servers. He also said he will swear off hacking.

In the event that he could hack into Mindef’s systems, however, Mr James Raj said he wants the ministry to apologise to him on national television, adding that he wants to be made its head of information and technology.

In the 8-minute 32-second video, he also said he is not afraid of receiving correction orders under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma), challenging the ministry to issue one.

Mr James Raj, who goes by the pseudonym Messiah, additionally alleged that he was abused in prison during his incarceration in 2015.

In a separate video which he posted on the account @JamesMessiah, he showed a physical copy of his charge sheet, although it was not clear when the document was dated.

The document stated he had attempted to hack into the National Day Parade website.

On Wednesday, a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) statement refuted these claims. It also said that a correction direction had been issued by the Minister for Home Affairs and the Minister for Law under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma).

Clarifications published on Wednesday by MHA on government fact-checking website Factually also stated that Mindef’s cyber and security agencies have confirmed that its systems were never breached by Mr James Raj.

The Factually article also said that Mindef was aware that Mr James Raj had posted several videos on Instagram on Sept 12 and 13, which contained additional falsehoods related to his original claim of hacking, and reiterated that these claims were untrue.

According to TikTok’s guidelines, the social media platform may permanently ban an account for several reasons.

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These include failing to meet certain requirements laid out in its terms of service, impersonating someone else, or violations such as promoting or threatening violence, or other forms of problematic content and actions, such as child sex abuse.

Accounts that have hit the maximum number of strikes for multiple violations, or fallen afoul multiple times of its intellectual property policy will also be banned.

ST understands Mr James Raj’s account was banned due to multiple violations of the social media platform’s community guidelines.

The Singaporean had made his claims in the Sept 6 episode of local current affairs podcast Plan B, and said that his actions caused embarrassment to the Government.

In its statement on Monday, Mindef said: “This is untrue. Mindef’s systems were neither hacked nor compromised as claimed.”

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Mr James Raj’s claims are connected to his arrest in 2013, which led to a conviction two years later.

The hacker had committed a series of offences in Malaysia between March and November 2013, and had pleaded guilty to 39 charges of computer misuse in January 2015.

He was first charged in court in November 2013 with accessing the website of Ang Mo Kio Town Council and modifying its contents. He also admitted to four drug-related charges.

He had also been charged with hacking into several other Web servers, including those belonging to the People’s Action Party Community Foundation, The Straits Times Blog and City Harvest Church co-founder Sun Ho, among several other offences.

As a result, he was jailed for four years and eight months in 2015.

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