An Irish hacker, Paddyhack, who attacked Nigeria’s official website, http://www.nigeria.gov.ng, says he/she is suspending the crackdown.
Paddyhack had attacked the website last Thursday in protest against the Nigerian government’s anti-gay stance.
The hacker, says the decision is to commiserate with the Nigerian government over the killing of about 40 pupils of Government Secondary School, Mamudo, Yobe State on Saturday.
The hacker who defaced the portal before it came up shortly around mid-night last Thursday, had said in a Twitter post that “a torrent of fury will be unleashed on Nigeria’s government due to the unfair and unjust treatment of homosexuals in their country.”
The hacker had vowed that the defacement of the official web portal was a “first step in a long line of attacks aimed against Nigeria until they back down on their stance on arresting gays in their country for up to 14 years.”
In the campaign themed #OpNigeria, the hacker who claims to be a member of the ‘Anonymous Group’ – the globally renowned hacker-activism group which has successfully hacked into official websites of United States Federal Government agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigations and US Department of Defence, had given President Goodluck Jonathan 72 hours to “renounce and veto this Bill.” The ultimatum was expected to lapse mid-night Sunday.
However, the news of the school attack broke at about 2.pm on Saturday, while the hacker, who uses the Twitter handle, @paddyhack, was having an online interview with our correspondent.
“Just reading about the school shooting by extremists. Truly awful.’’ Two hours after the news broke, the hacker states in a tweet, “#OpNigeria postponed until next week due to the death of 40+ kids by extremists in Nigeria.’’
Responding to subsequent enquiries, the hacker says “deadline called off, I’ll decide when to resume’’ next week. The dissenter added that adequate ‘’warning’’ will be given to the Nigerian government to retrace its steps before resuming the campaign next week.
Paddyhack, who refused to disclose the number of Nigerian websites he had compromised into, claims to have ‘’uncovered corruption’’ in the process.
“I was not expecting to uncover corruption. I’m discussing this with other Anonymous members and I’m trying to fully identify who these people are. I will expose the guilty when the time is right,” Paddyhack explains to our correspondent. In a tweet, the rebel adds, “A lot of emails to sift through.”
While fielding questions from our correspondent, the hacker says though the campaign has been postponed, it will not end ‘’anytime soon’’ if the government refuses to softpedal on its tough stance on gays in the country.
“I operate alone, but as part of Anonymous. I am on anti-hate campaign. Nigeria’s proposal to jail gays is disgusting. I’m not gay, but people shouldn’t be jailed for love. I am protesting the lack of humanity imposed by the Nigerian government. I will disappear if it (anti-gay bill) gets dropped,’’ the hacker adds.
Asked what position he or she occupies in the Anonymous group, and what links he/ she has with the local Nigerian hacking group, NaijaCyberHactivists or any Nigerian gay group, the hacker replies, “There are no leaders or ranks in Anonymous. I am not affiliated with any Nigerian, or any gay group. I don’t know anything about NaijaCyberActivists.’’
However, in a move seen as drawing inspiration from PaddyHack, NaijaCyberActivists has become an august follower of the hacker on Twitter.
Paddyhack has also disagreed with the Federal Government which says it “fought back the attack.’’
The information on the web portal had said, “The Federal Ministry of Information has fought off the attack on Nigeria’s National Portal by a group of gay rights activists.
“The Federal Ministry of Information is taking additional measures to stem future attacks by hackers whose criminal activities are on the increase globally in recent times.
“The attackers were traced to the same group that recently attacked several countries’ government websites across the world claiming to be fighting for gay rights.”
However, Paddyhack in a message in one of his tweets says, “I’ve allowed http://Nigeria.gov.ng to come back to full service for now. Don’t think that I can’t come and go as I please.”
While battling with the website admins, Paddyhack had said, “Having a funny ‘war’ with their admins. They delete the file, I replace it. Hehe!. Do not remove the index.php page again, or I will kill your entire site.”
The hacker also mocked the Federal Government which, according to him, used Joomla, a free and open source content management system, for publishing content on the World Wide for the web portal.
The hacker adds, “How does a crappy Joomla website cost N10 million ($70,000)? What sort of country uses Joomla as their web platform anyway? It’s not even a dedicated server. #corruption.’’
But a handful of Nigerians have come down heavily on Paddyhack, with many of them asking the hacker to provide a safe haven for lesbians, gays, homosexuals and transgenders in his home country.
A Nigerian, Terkura Unongo, tweeting via @iamtkunongo says, “I sympathise with you (Paddyhack) to some extent because you feel the jailing of homosexuals is wrong, but in Africa homosexuality is wrong.
“If you disagree with the anti-gay Law in Nigeria, fine. Offer the homosexuals of Nigeria refuge in your country.”
by Temitayo Famutimi