Malaysia Airlines’ Latest Woe: An Attack by the ‘Cyber Caliphate’

With two of its planes down last year, you’d think Malaysia Airlines might be due for a break. But some hackers apparently disagree.


With two of its planes down last year, you’d think Malaysia Airlines might be due for a break.

Some hackers apparently disagree. For several hours beginning Sunday night, Jan. 25, Malaysia Airlines’ website displayed the words “ISIS WILL PREVAIL” and “404 — Plane Not Found: Hacked by Cyber Caliphate” over the image of a Malaysia Airlines plane in flight. The background image was later replaced by a smartly attired lizard and the message “Hacked by LIZARD SQUAD.”


As of Monday morning, the airline’s site appeared to be back to normal.

In a statement on Facebook, Malaysia Airlines said, “At this stage, Malaysia Airlines’ web servers are intact.” It assured customers that the “temporary glitch does not affect their bookings and that user data remains secured.”

But Lizard Squad insists it has obtained secure information and will distribute it soon.

The hack comes after a horrific past year for the beleaguered national carrier, which saw one of its flights disappear last March while another was shot down over Ukraine in July.

It’s not the first attack by people claiming to be operating on behalf of the Islamic State. This month, hackers also claiming membership in the “Cyber Caliphate” briefly took over U.S. Central Command’s Twitter and YouTube accounts and used them to post messages in support of ISIS, along with information they suggested was confidential. Centcom said the hack hadn’t compromised its operations.

Images via

Justine Drennan was a fellow at Foreign Policy. She previously reported from Cambodia for the Associated Press and other outlets. Twitter: @jkdrennan

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola