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USIA Web site hit by hacker


January 21, 1999
Web posted at: 9:37 p.m. EST (0237 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The FBI and officials at the U.S. Information Agency are trying to find out who hacked into their Web site last week, the second such attack in the past five months.

On January 13, the hacker circumvented the agency's Internet security and damaged the hard drive, leaving behind the message "Crystal, I love you" and the signature "Zyklon."

Those were the same messages that were left on the USIA Web site about five months ago, when the hacker destroyed files and left a "Trojan horse" virus that repeated the damage hours later.

USIA officials say "Zyklon" may be a reference to the type of poison gas used by the Nazis in their World War II extermination camps.

U.S. diplomats around the world rely on the USIA's Web sites for statements of American policy and the texts of speeches that are not covered by the news media.

"We hope this doesn't happen again," said Kathryn Gunning, a USIA public affairs officer.

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