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FBI probes pro-China attacks on U.S. Web sites

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Repairing damage

Hacking group?

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(CNN) -- Federal authorities on Monday said they were attempting to trace the origin of a series of hacker attacks that appear to have been sparked by the United States spy plane crisis in China.

The hackers have showered U.S. government and business Web sites with eulogies for the downed Chinese fighter pilot, denouncements of imperialism and crude references.

One of the attack victims said the vandalism appeared to have originated in China.

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"We discovered that the home page on one of our sites had been replaced with a posting of a Chinese flag with some rhetoric in Chinese and English," said Dan Olasin, president of Intelligent Direct.

Based in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, the company sells maps on the Internet thorough www.zipcodemaps.com. But the site was down for much of last week.

Repairing damage

The company uses the Dell Computers site-hosting service, which helped trace the hackers to Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in China, Olasin said. Intelligent Direct has since solved the problem by having Dell rebuild its server.

"It would have been more productive in the scheme of things if the hackers had been interested in exchanging ideas on the Internet somehow, rather than resorting to attacks like these," Olasin said.

An FBI spokesperson confirmed that the pro-China attacks have occurred.

"All the we are aware of is an intrusion emanating from abroad. We are coordinating with appropriate government agencies," said Debbie Weierman of the FBI.

The bureau offered no other details, but hackers identifying themselves as members of the Hacker Union of China took credit for at least one attack.

Hacking group?

The defaced site was that of Iplexmarin.com, based in California. On Monday, the site was still covered in Chinese flags, political slogans in Chinese and English and photographs of the missing Chinese pilot Wang Wei. He presumably crashed and died after his Chinese fighter jet collided with a U.S. spy plane off the coast of China on April 1.

"As we are Chinese, we love our motherland and its people deeply. We are so indignant about the intrusion from the imperialism. The only thing we could say is that, when we are needed, we are ready to devote anything to our motherland, even including our lives," the posting read.

A Web page hosting the Hackers Union of China posted a list of 10 Web sites hacked in memory of the missing pilot. The Hackers Union refers to itself an a "network security organization" on its Web site, cnhonker.com.

According to a Washington Post report Friday, other targeted sites included two maintained by the U.S. Navy, although neither was militarily critical.



RELATED STORIES:
Members of Congress consider slapping sanctions on China
April 15, 2001
Navy pilot describes collision, aftermath
April 14, 2001
Consumer Product Safety Commission site defaced
April 9, 2001
Glitch wipes out numerous Tripod sites
March 21, 2001

RELATED SITES:
zipcodemaps.com
Iplexmarin.com

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