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Meridian Secondary School’s art competition site hacked

SINGAPORE — Hackers have broken into a website administered by Meridian Secondary School and a police report has been made, the school said in a press release on Thursday (Sept 7).

SINGAPORE — Hackers have broken into a website administered by Meridian Secondary School and a police report has been made, the school said in a press release on Thursday (Sept 7).

The Young Illustrator Award site, which hosted an online art competition open to all primary and secondary school students in Singapore, was hacked on Aug 29 and has been taken down.

“We have also reached out to all the registrants on the website to change their passwords, and to advise them to alert (us) of any suspicious activities,” the school said. 

It added that no other system has been compromised as the site is a “standalone system”, and it is “working closely with the relevant authorities” to resolve the issue. 

The school, which is located in Pasir Ris, was alerted to the hack on Aug 30 by a vendor managing the website. This was a day before the competition was supposed to end.

Participants of the art competition, which is in its fifth run, now have until Friday to submit their entries via an email that was posted on the Young Illustrator Awards’ Facebook page.

Preliminary findings by the Ministry of Education (MOE), which is investigating the incident, showed that the breach was “fairly contained, and that no personally identifiable data had been compromised”.

“MOE complies with government IT security policies and requires vendors to maintain the same level of security on data protection,” it said.

“In addition, we have in place an IT security education programme to ensure that (staff members) in MOE headquarters and schools are educated on the importance of safeguarding personal and classified data under our care.”

In recent years, several education institutions and government agencies have been targeted by cyber criminals.

In April this year, the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University discovered that they had been hit by cyber attacks aimed at stealing research and government-related data.

In February, the Defence Ministry had a cybersecurity breach in which personal details of 850 national servicemen and staff members were stolen.

In 2014, the former Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore reported that more than 1,500 SingPass users’ IDs and passwords were potentially compromised and illegally accessed.

This led to the introduction of a two-step verification process for e-Government transactions to enhance security.

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