Flight information display systems in Vietnam's two major airport and the website of the national flag carrier became targets of online hackers suspected from China on Friday.
Flight information screens and advertising screens at Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport and Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City were hacked to display distorted information about the East Sea (South China Sea) and insult Vietnam and the Philippines, said Nguyen Nhat, Vice Minister of Transport.
The hackers even played a recording on the sound systems at the two airports, in which they introduced themselves as 1937cN.net team.
The airport authorities therefore were forced to switch off the flight information screens and sound systems.
They also have to shut down servers operating check-in systems at the two airports, a source told Thanh Nien.
As a result, manual check-in was required, causing multiple flight delays.
Vice Minister Nhat, however, said the incidents did not affect the security or air traffic control at the airports.
Meanwhile, Vietnam Airlines' website was also defaced and displayed the same distorted information between 4 p.m. and 5.45 p.m., before the carrier can regained control of the domain, it said in a statement.
Ngo Tuan Anh, Vice Chairman of security firm BKAV, alleged that the same 1937cN team was behind the attack on the website.
1937cN, according to hack-cn.com, a website that ranks hackers' groups in China, is the best-known and most powerful in the country. It has targets many websites in Vietnam for the past years.
The hack occurred two weeks after an international tribunal issued a ruling in favor of the Philippines that invalidated China's claims in the South China Sea.
Also this afternoon, hackers leaked a list of more than 400,000 members of Vietnam Airlines' frequent flyer program.
Ngo Tran Vu, chief executive officer of NTS security firm, suggested that those customers change their account login information to prevent personal information from being stolen.
According to the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam, police has launched an investigation into the cyber attack.