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Malaysian authorities may apply draconian powers that allow indefinite detention without trial in order to deter hacking.

In a debate that followed an attack on the Malaysian Parliament's Web site, Deputy Home Minister Zainal Abidin Zin said the government may apply the country's Internal Security Act in future cases of hacking. The 40-year-old law is most commonly used against political dissidents.

The Malaysian parliamentary site was defaced on 29 December but the attack went overlooked until the matter was raised by opposition leaders days later.

Hacker Topeira broke into the site and left a statement in Portuguese which said: "Just hacked by Doormouse. Propaganda so very vile."

This oversight contributed to a feeling that the Malaysian government, which is looking to draw in hi-tech investment and create jobs in IT, is woefully lax with regard to computer security.

Associated Press quotes unnamed sources who estimate that 50 of 700 government-owned Web sites have been hacked in recent years. ®

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