The front page of Oman’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority after it was hacked by teenage hacker Image Credit: Dr DarknesS

Muscat: Five Oman government websites, including the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) and the General Directorate of Traffic, were hacked on Tuesday evening.

Local media reported that the hacker was a 14-year-old who calls himself Dr DarknesS. He said he hacked the TRA website to express his displeasure over the poor services provided by telecom companies, according to Shabiba daily newspaper.

The teenager said that one has to shell out a large amount of money when signing up for any telecom subscription but the service provided is below par.

“Hacking is the only way to register one’s protest,” the hacker said.

The quality of Internet services in Oman is poor compared to other GCC countries, he said, adding that in neighbouring countries people have a wide choice because there are a large number of operators but here due to the monopoly the quality is very poor.

Oman has a duopoly of internet service providers: state-owned OmanTel, and Nawras, owned by Qatar’s Qtel.

Dr DarknesS was able to post his own web page on the main page of the TRA and other websites.

The hacked websites were: traffic.gov.om, tra.gov.om, registry.om, omantel.om. All affected websites have been restored.

Telecommunication expert Ahmad Al Hashemi told Gulf News that many government websites have weak protection mechanisms that make the work of a hacker easier.

Al Hashemi added that the TRA should bolster its protection mechanism and electronic surveillance and take precautions to thwart future attacks.

The Sultan Qaboos University website was also hacked last week by a person called Yahya Al Shami. Al Shami posted on the SQU website that there was no particular reason why he hacked the SQU website. The SQU website was restored after one day.

Dr DarknesS also justified the hacking of the Oman Football Association, OFA, website following a poor performance by the Omani football team.

Many people have welcomed the hacking of telecom providers arguing that after repeated complaints from nationals they have failed to upgrade their services.