An article by “Wong Tawan” in Khaosod Newspaper raised concern a possible link between the hacker “9near”, who hacked the personal data of 55 million Thais, and the Thai general election, which will be held on May 14.
The suspect is Sgt. Lt. Khemrat Boonchuay, 33, a soldier in the Royal Thai Army. It is reported that he was a member of the army’s information operation or IO and may have been involved with someone close to the government.
Khemrat chose “9near” as the pseudonym for his hack. When translated into Thai, the name means “move little,” which is a satirical name for a liberal political party “Move Forward”. The party’s main concern is to fight the coup and introduce social reformation, especially in the army.
He claimed to have knowledge of information technology. When he came across a website selling personal data, he bought the data of 8 million people for 8,000 baht. But the public does not believe him.
When the Minister of Digital Economy and Society and the Cybercrime Police do not openly announce the case or provide regular updates on the case, preferring to let the story fizzle out, the public thinks even more that the 9near hacker might have something to do with politics, especially the elections.
Although the suspect’s department has suspended his work and sent him to the army prison, or the Prime Minister as Minister of Defence along with senior commanders insist that Khemrat did this for his personal benefit and had nothing to do with the army, the public is still suspicious.
The question has been raised in public whether it is possible for a low-ranking soldier to operate alone. Some say that his direct commander should also take responsibility for his actions, as safety is at stake here.
The fact that the personal data of 55 million Thais were hacked from a government health application “Mhor Phrom”, which contains comprehensive data about a person including an individual identification number, date of birth and phone number, makes the situation even more worrying.
If this data is leaked to government agencies whose power could easily be manipulated to keep themselves in power, amidst numerous polls indicating that opposing parties are in the lead, it could be worrying that the information is being used in bad faith and endangering democracy.
If you look back at the history of corruption, you find that there have been many tactics. As we live in a digital age, the new corruption could also make use of these.
Hacker “9Near” Surrenders to Police