The hackers displayed images supportive of Beijing's claims in the South China Sea on flight information screens. Vietnam's flag carrier said their website had also been targeted by the cyberattack.
Pro-Beijing hackers on Friday defaced the website of Vietnam Airlines and flight information screens at two major airports in Ho Chi Minh City and the capital, Hanoi, displaying messages of supportive China's maritime claims in the South China Sea.
Airline operators briefly suspended electronic check-ins when their systems were attacked, Vietnam's civil aviation authority said.
The country's flag carrier said in a statement that their website had been redirected to a "malicious website abroad."
Vietnam Airlines is "deploying proactive contingency plans, working in close coordination with airport security units to tighten control of passengers at airports in order to ensure normal operation, as well as implement necessary measures to ensure customers' benefits," it said.
The hacker group 1937CN allegedly claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Vietnamese media.
The attack comes amid heightened tensions between the country following a UN-backed arbitration court's ruling that Beijing has no historical claim to its territorial assertions in the South China Sea, considered a victory for the Philippines and Vietnam.
The cyberattack may have also been retribution for reports that a transport official at Ho Chi Minh City airport defaced a Chinese visitor's passport, writing obscenities next to a map of Beijing's "9 dash" assertions in the South China Sea.
ls/kms (Reuters, AP, AFP)