War-Related Web Site Attacks Reported

According to two reports, thousands of Web site defacements and denial-of-service attacks have been launched since the start of the US/Iraq war.

Two reports making the rounds—one from the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) and one from Finnish security company F-Secure—claim that there have been a high volume of Web-site defacements since the US/Iraq war began. The targets are military, government, and business sites, according to the stories.

The report from OSAC says, "The start of the military campaign against Iraq triggered a wave of digital attacks. These digital attacks are causing business disruptions through online vandalism of commerce portals and computers belonging to businesses. Government and military systems are also being targeted but in smaller numbers."

It continues, "Sources that watch the hacker community closely report about 2,500 defacements per day since Friday, 21 March 2003. Sites related to the American military have, as expected, been subject to attack. But the increased hacking activity is in no way limited to the nations directly involved in the war. Sites in any country can be subject to attack as the hackers seek maximum publicity for their protest. Many of the web defacements have an anti-war message, but some have direct anti-USA or anti-Iraq slogans."

That lines up with information posted by F-Secure, the security company based in Finland. F-Secure reports that British Prime Minister Tony Blairs Web site was hit with a DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack on March 24.

"The number of hacked sites during Friday, March 21st, has been constantly increasing," says the F-Secure Web site. "The reporting systems have problems dealing with the load and the number of hacked sites can only be estimated. Its clear that over 1000 sites have been defaced." The F-Secure site has screen shots of alleged site defacements, including that of the www.whitehouse.gov site. The White House site was apparently restored nearly immediately.

F-Secure also reports that several war-related viruses are making the rounds, some of which have been circulating since long before the war started. Investigators found Lioten, alias Iraq_Oil, December 17. They encountered Prune and Ganda in mid-March.