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8/13/2007
12:43 PM
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Hackers Deface U.N. Web Site, Leave Political Message

Officials are investigating whether there was a data breach during the break in.

A United Nation's spokesman confirmed on Monday that hackers busted into the organization's Web site over the weekend and defaced five different sections, posting messages that told the United States and Israel to stop killing children.

Alex Cerniglia, a spokesman for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, told InformationWeek that they're not yet sure if there was a data breach during the hack. The attack, including who is behind it, is under investigation.

The spokesman said they first discovered the defacement at 9 a.m. ET on Sunday. At that time, the hackers had hit the Secretary General's page, the press office page, and a page that contains press conference transcripts. Cerniglia said they later discovered that the news center page and the Cyber School Bus page also had been defaced.

The U.N.'s IT team had the site cleaned up by noon and all pages back online by the end of the day, according to Cerniglia.

"It's a rare occurrence, but it does happen once in a while," he said, adding that they're in the process of changing the U.N.'s perimeter defenses to try to hold off any further attacks.

Giorgio Maone, an Italian software developer, chronicled the hack on his blog, posting screen shots of the defacements.

Maone noted that the hackers left this message behind:

Hacked By kerem125 M0sted and Gsy
That is CyberProtest Hey Ysrail and Usa
dont kill children and other people
Peace for ever
No war

"While most of us may agree with the message, many will object to the spelling, and specifically to the dont used instead of don't," wrote Maone. "There's a technical reason for the missing apostrophe, though, because messing with this very character (') is part of the technique apparently used by the attackers."

In February, hackers penetrated the Web site for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, replacing text and graphics with photos of a nuclear explosion. The organization, which acts as a nuclear safety watchdog in Canada, reported that they had the Web site down within five minutes of being alerted to the attack.

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