Hackers have attacked the website of a national airline and flight information screens at Vietnam’s two biggest airports, posting notices that state media said criticised the Philippines and Vietnam and their claims in the South China Sea.

Operators of airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City briefly had to halt electronic check-ins when systems were attacked on Friday afternoon, the country’s civil aviation authority said.

The website of Vietnam Airlines was also compromised, directing browsers to what the flag carrier described as “bad websites overseas”.

State-run media said the messages were about the South China Sea and denounced Vietnam and the Philippines, which are at odds with Beijing over maritime sovereignty. Vietnamese media said the hack was claimed by a group called 1937CN. Reuters was not able to immediately verify the content of the messages.

The region is on edge, facing diplomatic dilemmas after a 12 July ruling by an arbitral court that declared Chinese claims to most of the South China Sea as having no legal grounds. Beijing has called the ruling farcical and refuses to recognise it.

The decision was favourable to the plaintiff, Manila, and by extension Hanoi, which has similar disagreements with China about its island-building and the conduct of its vast coastguard fleet in the South China Sea.

Vietnam’s vice transport minister, Nguyen Nhat, said the content displayed by the hackers offended his country and the Philippines, Thanh Niên news reported, without elaborating.

The report stated that the same picture was posted on the Vietnam Airlines website, with “distorting content” about the situation in the South China Sea.

Reuters - July 29, 2016


Flight info screens at Vietnam's 2 major airports hacked

Screens displaying flight information at Vietnam's two major airports were hacked Friday to contain distorted information about the South China Sea and insult Vietnam and the Philippines, state 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 flight information screens and sound system, the online VnExpress said.

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.

Earlier this month, an international tribunal issued a ruling in favor of the Philippines that invalidated China's sweeping claims in the South China Sea. Vietnam also has overlapping claims to parts of the sea, which is rich in natural resources.

The Associated Press - July 29, 2016