[ISN] DoD Bites Back At Hackers

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Fri Sep 25 1998 - 12:41:56 PDT

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    Forwarded From: Paul Hart <Paul.Hartat_private>
    WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A., Newsbytes via NewsEdge Corporation : The
    Pentagon launched an attack applet of its own this month to thwart a
    denial-of-service attack against its DefenseLink Web site at
    http://www.defenselink.mil .
    DefenseLink was one of three sites targeted on Sept. 7 by a group that
    calls itself the Electronic Disturbance Theater. The group claimed to be
    acting in solidarity with Zapatista rebels in the Mexican state of Chiapas
    to protest Defense Department funding of the School of the Americas.
    Other target Web sites belonged to Germany's Frankfurt Stock Exchange and
    Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo. 
    The theater group's Web site referred to the attacks as a virtual sit- in. 
    Visitors to the group's site received a hostile Java applet designed to
    keep reloading the DefenseLink and other Web sites automatically as long
    as the the visitors' browsers were open. 
    Multiple simultaneous reload requests can overwhelm a server, but the
    attacks apparently had little impact, DOD officials said.
    "Our support staff certainly was aware of the planned attack," Pentagon
    spokeswoman Susan Hansen said. "They took preventive measures to thwart
    the attack so that DefenseLink was available."
    Hansen would not specify the preventive measures, but the theater group
    reported, and a DOD official confirmed, that the Pentagon aimed its own
    hostile applet back at the attackers.
    Browsers "got back a message saying the (theater group's) server wasn't
    available," Hansen said.
    The Frankfurt exchange reported the reload requests had little or no
    impact on its server, either.
    The theater group has promised a second round of attacks, known as
    FloodNet, between Sept. 16, Mexican Independence Day, and Oct. 12,
    Columbus Day.
    Representatives of security software vendor Finjan Inc. of Santa Clara,
    Calif., said the attacks marked the first time Java applets have been used
    in a political protest, although the theater group has claimed
    participation in other virtual sit-ins against Zedillo and President
    Clinton since April.
    The group is a throwback to the 1960s guerrilla theater of the Yippies,
    who once hosted an attempt to mentally levitate the Pentagon. The theater
    group's Web site at http://www.nyu.edu/projects/wray/ecd.html advocates
    electronic civil disobedience. Its attempted Pentagon attack was part of
    Swarm, a project launched at the Ars Electronic Festival on InfoWar in
    Linz, Austria.
    The group's announced activities, in addition to the unspecified attacks
    planned through mid-October, include radio protests against the Federal
    Communications Commission on Oct. 4 and 5. 
    The Swarm attacks reportedly did not meet with much approval among
    hackers, who view FloodNet as an abuse of network resources. 
    Reported by Government Computer news: http://www.gcn.com . 
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