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Al Jazeera site faces hacker attacks

Hacker attacks continued to plague the Web site al-Jazeera as cyber-vandals replaced the news site with a stars-and-stripes logo.

world Updated: Mar 28, 2003 02:30 IST
Reuters
Reuters
PTI

Hacker attacks continued to plague the Web site of Arab satellite TV network Al-Jazeera on Thursday, as cyber-vandals replaced the news site with a stars-and-stripes logo saying "Let Freedom Ring."

Though the Qatar-based network regained control a few hours after the attack was launched, experts said both the Arabic site, at (http://www.aljazeera.net), and the English-language version at (http://english.aljazeera.net) would probably not be reachable for at least 24 hours.

Users who tried to log onto the site before noon EST found a message that read "Hacked by Patriot, Freedom Cyber Force Militia" beneath a logo containing the US flag.

Visitors later found a message saying "This page has been taken over by Saimoon Bhuiyan" and advising that the page was under construction.

Al-Jazeera information technology manager Salah Al Seddiqui said someone had hijacked the domain name and redirected it to another server computer.

"Our Web site is working but nobody can see it," Al Seddiqui said.

The Al-Jazeera Web site has faced near-constant cyber attacks since an English-language version devoted exclusively to the war in Iraq was launched on Monday.

Hackers have blitzed the site with meaningless data in an effort to squeeze out legitimate traffic and render the site inaccessible, a technique known as a "denial of service" attack.

That attack eased at around 3 AM London time on Thursday, Al Seddiqui said, but the domain name was hijacked shortly after and pointed to a free hosting service run by a Washington State domain-name seller.

Managers at Vancouver, Washington-based Dotster Inc. took down the page after they noticed an abnormal spike in traffic, Dotster Vice President George Decarlo said.

The domain name was pointed back to the original site, Decarlo said, but it might take several days for the Internet traffic system to register the change.

Al-Jazeera had registered its domain name with Network Solutions Inc. Network Solutions did not return repeated calls for comment.

Al-Jazeera also has had to search for a new home for the site after US-based DataPipe said it would not be able to host it after the end of the month. Al Seddiqui said the company had moved its servers to a data center in France.

Security expert Richard M Smith said the hijacker should be easy to track down.

"It should be easy to do some of the forensics here," Smith said. "They had to leave a lot of traces in the sand."

First Published: Mar 28, 2003 02:30 IST