HONG KONG » Malaysia Airlines officials were struggling Monday to restore the embattled carrier’s website after it was hacked by a group proclaiming support for the Islamic State group.
The airline’s site was changed, at first displaying a message saying "404 – Plane Not Found" and that it was "Hacked by Cyber Caliphate," with a photo of one of the airline’s Airbus A380 superjumbo jets. The browser tab for the website said "ISIS will prevail."
Malaysian Airlines is trying to recover from twin disasters last year, including the disappearance of Flight 370, which authorities believed crashed 1,100 miles off Australia’s west coast, and the downing of Flight 17 over Ukraine.
The website was later changed to include a picture of a lizard in a top hat, monocle and tuxedo smoking a pipe. The Islamic State reference was removed and the claim of responsibility changed to "Lizard Squad – Official Cyber Caliphate," with a link to the group’s Twitter account.
The airline said in a statement that it was a "temporary glitch" that didn’t affect passenger bookings and that the breach had been reported to Malaysia’s transport ministry and Internet security agency. It said user data "remains secured."
The group, however, tweeted that it was "going to dump some loot found on malaysiaairlines.com servers soon," and posted a link to a screenshot of what appeared to be a passenger’s flight booking from the airline’s internal email system.
The Lizard Squad group last year claimed it was behind attacks on Sony’s online PlayStation network and Microsoft’s Xbox site.
In August, it also tweeted to American Airlines that there might be explosives on a plane carrying the president of Sony Online Entertainment, which makes video games, forcing the flight to be diverted.
Malaysia Airlines also said in its statement that its domain name system was "compromised" and users were being redirected to the hacker group’s website.
The domain name system translates web addresses typed into browsers into the numbers that computers use to identify and connect with each other on the Internet. It said it will take up to 22 hours to restore the website.
The militant Islamic State group now holds about a third of both Syria and Iraq, territory it has declared a caliphate. Police in Malaysia detained 43 people last year on suspicion of links to the extremist group, underscoring concerns held by Prime Minister Najib Razak that the spread of Islamic State ideology could lead to conflict in predominantly Muslim Malaysia.
AP Writer Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur contributed to this report.