Hackers attack U.S. government Web sites in protest of Chinese embassy bombing
May 10, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Computer hackers protesting NATO's bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade attacked three U.S. government Web sites on Sunday, government officials tell CNN.
The hackers briefly planted messages condemning the bombing, prompting at least one Cabinet department Web site to remain closed through Monday. It is not clear whether the hackers were located in China or elsewhere.
The main Web sites for the Energy and Interior departments and the National Park Service were targeted Sunday. Hackers inserted messages of protest of the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy into the agencies' home pages. The pictures of three Chinese journalists who died in the bombing were briefly posted on the Interior Department Web page.
The Interior and Park Service sites were only briefly disrupted, but the main Energy Department site was still off line as of 3 p.m. EDT Monday for what a DOE spokesman said was "investigation" of the hacking episode. Sub-sites for Energy Department programs were protected by electronic "firewalls" and were not affected by the hacking, the spokesman said.
A White House spokesman told CNN that the whitehouse.gov site also endured an unusual level of activity this weekend. The White House site briefly went off line before 6 a.m. EDT this morning, but the spokesman said that outage was due to an equipment failure, not a disruption by computer hackers.
Veteran computer hackers tell CNN that it is likely that other government sites were subject to hackers' efforts Sunday, but advanced security systems would have prevented a successful entry. DOE's chief information officer, John Gilligan, said his agency would seek to upgrade security on its Web site.
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