Vietnam airport screens hacked by Chinese group

Screens displaying flight information at Vietnam’s two major airports were hacked to contain distorted information about the South China Sea and insult Vietnam and the Philippines. Pic: AP

TWO of Vietnam’s two major airports became a scene of confusion after Chinese hacktivists purportedly hacked check-in screens to contain distorted information about the South China Sea, and insult Vietnam and the Philippines, local media reported. 

The sound systems at Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City respectively were also affected, forcing airport authorities to switch off the check-in screen and sound system, the online VnExpress reported Friday.

The website of the national carrier, Vietnam Airlines, was also briefly hacked, it said.

The paper quoted Vice Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat as saying the incidents did not affect the security or air traffic control at the airports.

He said the breach only affected interface of the screens showing Vietnam Airlines’ flight information at the two terminals. However, the booking system, along with flight control and security were not interrupted.

Vietnam and the Philippines are involved in territorial disputes with China over parts of the South China Sea. Chinese hacking group 1937cn claimed to be behind the attack.

Passengers at the two airports panicked when flight information changed on screens and false information was seen at most counters during the afternoon incident.

Authorities said a strange message had been airing for about four minutes, which led to the entire public announcement system to be turned off.

The hackers also posted an announcement on the website of Vietnam Airlines to state that it had been hacked and its content altered.

The group also posted a message on China’s claims to the disputed waters along with an insulting recording about Vietnam and the Philippines, which were both claimants in the on-going dispute.

This article first appeared on Asian Correspondent. Additional reporting by Associated Press.