Cops called to Singapore golf club after ‘wrongdoers’ use scripts to book popular timeslots

A Singapore golf club has called in the police claiming members may have broken the country’s Computer Misuse Act after using scripts to book up course slots within seconds of them becoming available.

The Singapore Island Country Club dialled 999 after declaring that its online golf session booking system had been “compromised” thanks to “millions” of online booking attempts daily, according to Channel News Asia.

Tech-savvy golfers, it appeared, were using scripts to book popular timeslots for themselves and their mates rather than filling in online forms manually whenever new slots were released.

“SICC found that more than 50 per cent of online golf bookings were completed within seconds after bookings opened, with the fastest completed in two seconds,” reported the news website.

It went on to quote the aggrieved golf club: “We will not hesitate to take the appropriate actions against wrongdoers and send a clear signal that we will do what is necessary to protect the interests of the membership at large.”

In a notice to members issued yesterday the club is said to have told them: “These incidents (akin to ‘hacking’) may constitute a possible breach of the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act,” reporting the automated bookings to police.

Apparently it is “impossible” for humans to complete the course booking form online within two seconds as doing so requires inputting names of players and their membership ID numbers and selecting tee times.

Counter-automated-golf measures due to be deployed include limiting members to one active logged-in session at any one time and implementing CAPTCHAs on login.

Golf-related computer shenanigans are rare: back in 2017 the Professional Golfers’ Association of America was struck with ransomware, while outside the world of electronic mayhem, a Norwegian groundskeeper complained in 2015 that some mysterious stranger had spent a full decade repeatedly crapping in his course’s holes. ®

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