[ISN] Hack attack dipped in the Well

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Fri Sep 18 1998 - 02:25:31 PDT

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    Forwarded From: William Knowles <erehwonat_private>
    [San Francisco Examiner] (9.16.98) Looks like the New York Times is not
    the only Web site fit to hack. 
    One day before the Times' home page was altered by hackers, the Whole
    Earth 'Lectronic Link, a Sausalito-based on-line service, suffered its own
    case of the hacks early Saturday morning, with 11 Well members suffering
    the consequences. 
    The hackers apparently entered The Well through a compromised Unix program
    and downloaded personal information on the way out. 
    "On Saturday morning, when the tech staff looked at our files, they
    noticed that there was unusual activity early in the morning," said Gail
    Williams, executive director of The Well. "(Hackers) managed to compromise
    a piece of the system and looked for credit cards and also were interested
    in 11 people's personal accounts." 
    "They (transferred) the contents of 11 people's private files," Williams
    There was no apparent link among the 11 victims. They were not of the same
    profession or age group, and did not hail from the same part of the
    Following the attack, The Well was forced to take down its system Saturday
    night for six hours. 
    Although there is no evidence of a connection between the two incidents,
    The Well invasion came one day prior to the New York Times' hacking
    incident Sunday, in which supporters of imprisoned hacker Kevin Mitnick
    altered the paper's home page (www.nytimes.com), replacing the on-line
    front page with a collage of pornographic pictures and threats. 
    The Times intruders, calling themselves "Hacking for Girlies," or HFG,
    ridiculed several members of the Times staff, paying particular attention
    to the paper's San Francisco-based technology correspondent, John Markoff. 
    "Do you have nightmares about helping imprison Kevin?" wrote the hackers.
    "Knowing that your lies and deceit helped bring down this injustice?"
    referring to Mitnick, who has been imprisoned since 1995 for
    computer-related fraud charges. 
    The Times writer has been the target of hackers in the past, according to
    Nancy Nielsen, spokeswoman for the Times. 
    Markoff wrote a book about the Mitnick saga, entitled "TakeDown," which is
    being made into a movie. 
    The Well also has had a history with Mitnick, who used the on-line
    service's servers to store crucial e-mail address while he was eluding law
    enforcement officials in the early '90s. 
    Since then, Mitnick supporters have targeted The Well on occasion,
    allegedly for cooperating with investigators during the pursuit, capture
    and conviction of the famed hacker. 
    The movie based on Markoff's book, said The Well's Williams, may be linked
    to the recent hacking. 
    "A lot of people are concerned that the various service providers or other
    people that tried to cooperate (with the Mitnick investigation) may be
    compromised by the upcoming film coming out," said Williams. "There's some
    feeling that the movie might be driving the hacking attacks." 
    Among the victims whose files were transferred was The Examiner's Rebecca
    Eisenberg, who contributes her Net Skink column to the Sunday business
    page biweekly. 
    "I'm not too worried about it. I'm flattered that they'd be interested in
    my personal accounts," said Eisenberg. "Some people get very nervous about
    their personal mail being read, but I just don't think that I have
    anything that's too incriminating or revealing." 
    "I do think it's linked to the Mitnick thing," said Eisenberg. "I was
    reading the history of relationship between the Mitnick story and The
    Well, and it sounds to me that there is some link there. 
    "There are some high-profile journalists on The Well," said Eisenberg.
    "These people are targeted for good reason by the hackers. I like the
    thought of them keeping us honest." 
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