Hacker brings down film festival site

Melbourne International Film Festival Web site has been hacked amid controversy over the screening of a film about exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer

The Web site of the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) has been hacked, amid furore over the screening of 10 Conditions of Love.

MIFF director Richard Moore, told ABC’s Radio National this morning he has been using Google Maps to track Web site traffic, the majority of which is coming from China.

The film, which is due to screen on August 8, tells the story of Rebiya Kadeer, a prominent Uighur businesswoman and political activist who spent six years in a Chinese prison before being exiled to Washington DC. Kadeer, a guest at the festival, was at one point one of the richest people in China and is a two-time Nobel Prize nominee.

Over the weekend, the MIFF Web site had 80,000 hits, which Moore said was well over the normal 10,000.

The hacking took place in the form of a Chinese flag with an accompanying jingle and message alleging that Kadeer is a criminal.

“It’s part of a wave of attacks that are happening on our Web site,” Moore told Radio National host Fran Kelly.

“We’ve been talking to the Victorian Police counterparts and there will be an investigation,” Moore said. “I’m calling it cyberwar or cyber terrorism, I think, because what’s happening is that such a volume of people in China are trying to attack our web site that it’s gone beyond the level of a joke.”

MIFF staff are working overtime to fix the IT issues arising from the hacking incident.

The organisation has released a statement to assure customers that their personal details are safe.

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