ministry restores website crippled by hackers

“The website was hacked a few weeks back, but has now been fully restored, and is safe and functional,” said Mohammed Al-Dukhainy, a spokesman for the ministry.
The website was taken offline after being hacked, he added, while expressing concerns over such incidents. Hackers replaced the front page of the ministry’s website early November with a photo of a syringe-wielding young man, the cache of which can be accessed through Google.
Al-Dukhainy said the website is now safe, adding that it is a matter of concern that such cyber crimes are becoming common.
Internet vandals defaced the homepage of the ministry’s site ( that provides information about its activities, its works, plans and achievements. The ministry’s website was used to disseminate information about its programs and policies, said the report, adding that the site was rich in content, with statistics, news reports and photographs.
Al-Dukhainy said the website is a focal point for “online information services and educational resources,” contains several features and is safe and usable.
He added that a large number of important official sites belonging to different countries or international organizations are being hacked regularly.
Several Saudi government websites have been hacked in the past despite an anti e-crime law, which carries strict jail terms and fines, said Jafer Ahsan, an IT expert.
In a similar incident a fortnight ago, the website of the Riyadh-based King Saud University (KSU) was hacked, said Ahsan.
A Saudi student at KSU, who identified himself as an orientation student at the same university, hacked the website and sent a message to all of the university’s mail boxes.
In another major hacking incident in 2010, the Riyad Bank website was broken, prompting the bank to take safety measures.
The bank’s website was taken over for five hours by the hackers, who called themselves “team 04 HrB”.
Even the website of the Arabic newspaper Al-Watan was hacked last year by suspected supporters of a leading cleric.

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