U.S., U.K., Australia Web sites hit by hackers


WASHINGTON, AFP

Hackers defaced government websites in Britain, Australia and the United States over the weekend in one of the largest systematic attacks on official sites, a monitoring group said Monday.

The hacker monitoring group attrition.erg attributed the attacks to an underground group known as Pentaguard.

“While the message was the same on all websites targeted, we are intrigued by the fact that this was not a mass defacement of a series of government Web sites within an agency or even within a country — but three different nations in different time zones all at the same time with all sites remaining defaced for a period longer than 15 minutes,” said a statement posted by attrition.org.

The U.S. sites defaced included the Republican Caucus for the California Legislature and the Alaskan Office for the Department of Interior.

The FBI had no immediate comment on the attacks.

Also hit were several British government sites — including one set up by the London government to disseminate information on mad cow disease, and those in Australia included a legislative search application for the Commonwealth of Australia and the Australian Institute of Marine Science, according to attrition.org.

Some of the pages were replaced with messages that said “Pentaguard mass defacement.

A message on the Pentaguard site called the action “the largest .gov and .mil mass defacement in the history of mankind.”

While the message did not offer a specific motive, it said “Hack governments all over the world … hack them all … Powered by beer, whisky, vodka and wine Pentaguard is here to hit the all those fancy .gov/.mil servers once again … Why ? Well … who needs them anyway ? We don’t … they don’t have mp3’s, they don’t have porn, they don’t have warez, they don’t have 0-day exploits so they’re totally unuseful …”

Warez is a term for pirated software.

The Internet news site CNET reported that a total of 26 sites worldwide had been hit in the attacks,

British-based computerweekly.com said seven public sector websites in the country were defaced and that the hackers “left a boastful message including references to beer, sex, and Ferraris.”

Reports indicated that the group is US-based, but Pentaguard calls itself “a small Romanian hacking group founded somewhere in 1998 by a few experienced hackers.”

Its hackers are nicknamed Diablo, Halo, Killtec and G-man, and they claim to be waging a “World Wide Web War.”

Attrition.org said the group had previously claimed credit for at least 48 attacks on U.S. government and military websites as well as government sites in mainland China, Kuwait, Romania, Georgia, and Vietnam.