June 5, 1999
From Correspondent Marsha Walton
(CNN) -- Hacker groups angry at the FBI's investigations into computer intrusions have declared cyber war, vowing that every Web site with an address ending in ".gov" will be a target.
That includes every U.S. government Web site from the Senate to NASA to the Fish and Wildlife Service to the FBI itself. Indeed, the FBI's Web site has been inaccessible for most of the past five days.
Two of the latest sites defaced belong to the Interior Department and the General Services Administration.
A member of the Forpaxe, a Portuguese group taking credit for some of the intrusions, told CNN in an on-line chat that "hacking is a means to inform ... At the same time, we get what we want."
Computer security experts say that what these groups want is attention.
"It's the equivalent of spray painting something on a wall," said Russell Shumway of Global Integrity. "The nice thing about defacing a '.gov' site if you're a hacker is that you immediately get a lot of press for doing that."
These government Web sites are usually designed just to supply information, and their servers don't access sensitive records. So they often have less security than e-commerce sites that process personal and credit card information.
"The primary risk to the government is not the loss of confidential data. It's the public image loss," Shumway said.
After being forced to shut its site, the FBI says finding those responsible is a priority.
"It is no prank, and if we find out who did it, we will seek to prosecute," said FBI spokesman Tron Brekke.
Hackers target more federal computers
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