Hackers Disrupt Net with War Messages

This antiwar message briefly replaced an official Navy page.
This antiwar message briefly replaced an official Navy page.

It's hardly rocket science. You can build a basic web page using a fairly simple code called HTML. Publishing on the web is also not very difficult if you have the right software and the password to access what's called a web server, a machine whose contents are visible to anyone with an internet connection.

But to replace a US Navy web page with an antiwar message is a more complicated project; but it happened recently. Since the first surgical strike on Baghdad, more than a thousand sites have been hacked. The attackers found vulnerabilities in the target networks, and used that access to replace the site's content with their own messaged.

Some are against the war, some are for it. Some placed messages that were more thoughtfully designed than other. And some have been profane.

One group, quoting the Koran, looks at this as its own cyber war that will not stop till the war stops.

Call it "hacktivism" or malicious vandalism, this sort of attack is usually cleaned up fairly quickly. More disturbing is the fact that at least three worms, self-replicating computer viruses that infest networks and cause disruptions, have been released recently around the Iraq issue. Again, some are spreading a message, but the toll on networks can be heavy.

Most worms spread through email. If you receive an email attachment you didn't ask for from someone you don't recognize, take my advice and delete it without opening the attachment. For more information on these attacks, follow the link to the right.

Reported by: Charles Gray, cgray@wtoc.com