[ISN] Hacker Destroys 4500 Web Sites
Forwarded From: Nicholas Charles Brawn <email@example.com>
19Nov98 NEW ZEALAND: COMPUTER HACKER DESTROYS 4500 WEB SITES.
By CHRIS BARTON.
A hacker has wiped out more than 4500 New Zealand Web sites in what is
believed to be the worst case of computer vandalism to hit the country.
The sites are hosted by the Auckland-based Internet service provider the
Internet Group, also known as Ihug.
The owners of the Web sites were initially told that the group's server -
which is based in California - had suffered a storage disk failure,
resulting in their "Homepages" being deleted.
There was no backup facility and, unless the owners had made their own
copies, the Web pages were permanently lost.
Internet Group director Tim Wood said the company now knew the identity of
the hacker and was taking legal advice. He said it had taken a few days to
sort through what the intruder did when he breached the system on Monday.
An e-mail apologising to those affected says: "Unfortunately three days
ago, a malicious hacker managed to get into our Homepages server in the
It says the hacker accessed the system via a "security hole" in a "CGI
script" - a small program on a Web page - and then damaged the disk drive
and emergency backup on the computer server
"When basic services were restored, we found that we had lost a large
proportion of customers' directories; 4586 were unrecoverable."
The company provides Internet access to about 45,000 subscribers
throughout New Zealand and Australia. It allows subscribers to create up
to five free megabytes of Web pages, which can be accessed by anyone using
the Internet. Some 12,000 Web sites are hosted, including larger
commercial sites which cost firms a monthly hosting fee.
Mr Wood said about 500 commercial sites had been affected. A partner in
the law firm Simpson Grierson, Mark Jeffries, said New Zealand did not
have specific laws relating to electronic trespass. But if it could be
shown there was intent to do wilful damage, a 1991 British case relating
to hacking might support action under the Crimes Act.
NEW ZEALAND HERALD 19/11/1998
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Received on Sat Nov 21 11:38:32 1998