Google Morocco Not Hacked, Company Insists - InformationWeek
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Google Morocco Not Hacked, Company Insists

Internet users trying to reach Google Morocco were, for a few hours, sent to a Web site unaffiliated with Google.

Google says that while visitors to its Moroccan Web site may have been misdirected over the weekend, its Web site was not hacked.

On Saturday, a report on ArabCrunch said that Google Morocco had been hacked, based on a tweet from Habib Haddad, founder of the Google-powered Arabic search engine Yamli.

A screen shot posted by Haddad suggests that Google's Moroccan Web site was defaced.

But according to a Google spokesperson, "Google services in Morocco are not hacked. Since Friday PST, some users visiting www.google.co.ma were redirected to a different Web site. We're in touch with the appropriate hosting service to help investigate the issue."

What appears to have happened is that some domain information associated with Google Morocco was altered, allowing the attacker to send Internet users seeking Google Morocco to an alternate site. The distinction matters to Google because the security vulnerability that permitted the hijacking would have to reside in software or hardware operated by a third party rather than in a machine operated by Google.

The French Web site Nowhere Else has posted a series of screenshots that purport to show the altered DNS routing information.

As a practical result of the attack, Internet users trying to reach Google Morocco were, for a few hours, sent to a Web site unaffiliated with Google. Service has been restored.

Security researchers, such as Dan Kaminsky of IOActive, have been warning that infrastructure attacks represent a growing threat to Web sites. "The reality is the bad guys are out there, and they're learning," Kaminsky wrote in a blog post in March. "Just as attackers moved from servers to clients, some are moving from compromising a single client to compromising every client behind vulnerable infrastructure."

Other recent DNS attacks have reportedly affected a domain registrar serving Puerto Rico and a bank in Brazil.

Kaminsky and other security researchers have been supporting the move to DNSSEC, an extension to the DNS system that allows domain information to be authenticated.


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