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Posted: 7/3/2003 10:31:00 AM EDT
[url=www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/business/6225709.htm]Hacker contest may target Web sites[/url] CYBER-SECURITY EXPERTS WARN OF WEEKEND DEFACING Mercury News Staff and Wire Reports WASHINGTON - As the nation prepared for a three-day holiday weekend, government and private technology experts warned Wednesday that hackers planned a loosely coordinated ``contest'' aimed at defacing thousands of Web sites Sunday. Organizers established a Web site called defacers-challenge.com, which was shut down early Wednesday evening. Before it was removed, the site listed in broken English the rules for hackers who might participate. The goal of the ``Defacers Challenge'' was to deface 6,000 Web sites in six hours. Winners would purportedly get prizes such as Web hosting space and Internet domain names. The Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday that it was aware of the hackers' plans but did not expect to issue any formal public warnings. ``This sort of challenge, I'm afraid, is fairly common and probably doesn't rise to the level of putting out an additional warning,'' said Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Wray. The agency has had conversations with the Internet security community and has also alerted government chief information officers. FBI spokesman Bill Murray said his agency is ``taking this very seriously'' and was trying to identify who set up the Web site. He added: ``Hacking is a crime and those who participate in this activity will be investigated and brought to justice.'' Computer security experts said companies and other organizations should double-check their Web operations to make sure they're secure. ``It's not terribly unusual, but it's a little more alarming now because it happens to be going off on a three-day weekend'' that has symbolic significance for the United States, said Ken Silva, vice president of network information security for Verisign. ``The problem is now, and you shouldn't wait until Sunday to address it,'' said Pete Allor of Atlanta-based Internet Security Systems, which runs a cyber-threat detection database and service that's well-known among computer professionals and government agencies. Affinity Internet of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which operated through a subsidiary the computer servers where the hacker Web site was located, shut down the site for violating a service agreement, Affinity spokeswoman Laura Weir said. The company declined to identify the Affinity customer who set up the Internet site, citing privacy restrictions. Records show the Web address was registered June 21.
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