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UN site defaced by 'hackers'

UN site defaced by 'hackers'

"Hackers" defaced the United Nations' website early Sunday with messages accusing the U.S. and Israel of killing children. As of late afternoon, some sections, including the area devoted to Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, remained offline.

The attack, spelled out by an Italian software developer on his blog and later reported by the BBC, replaced blurbs of recent speeches by Ban with text attributed to a trio of would-be hackers.

HACKED BY KEREM125 M0STED AND GSY THAT IS CYBERPROTEST HEY ÝSRAIL AND USA
DONT KILL CHILDREN AND OTHER PEOPLE PEACE FOR EVER NO WAR

The section of the U.N.'s site dedicated to Ban was still offline as of 5 p.m. EDT Sunday. It sported a message reading: "This site will be temporarily unavailable due to scheduled maintenance."

Giorgio Maone, a software developer from Palermo, Italy, noted the incident timeline and posted several screenshots of the defacement on his blog. Maone pegged the attack as an SQL injection exploit, which let the attackers add their own HTML code to the site. SQL injection attacks are a common tactic by defacers, and have been used against numerous government and commercial sites worldwide. In June, Microsoft Corp.'s U.K. Web site was defaced by an SQL injection.

"There?????????s a technical reason for the missing apostrophe [in DON'T], though, because messing with this very character (') is part of the technique apparently used by the attackers," said Maone in his blog post Sunday. "The [U.N.'s] site is vulnerable to an [SQL injection] attack...this is a very well known kind of vulnerability, fairly easy to avoid and very surprising to find in such a high profile site.

"Moreover, the hole seems not to be patched yet, thus the site could be defaced again at will," Maone added.

In the past, "Kerem125," "m0sted" and "gsy," are names that have been used by would-be hackers claiming to be from Turkey, said the BBC. An Australian insurance company, for example, had its site defaced in late July by a group that included kerem125.

The U.N. could not be reached Sunday for comment.

While site defacing is common, large-scale attacks have been rare. Last year, however, nearly 1,000 Danish sites were defaced by Islamic attackers who protested controversial cartoons that featured the Prophet Mohammed. And in 2001, a month-long defacement dustup raged between Chinese and American entities after a U.S. spy plane was forced down by Chinese fighters.

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