[ISN] Hacker Destroys 4500 Web Sites

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Thu Nov 19 1998 - 22:28:15 PST

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    Forwarded From: Nicholas Charles Brawn <ncb05at_private>
    A hacker has wiped out more than 4500 New Zealand Web sites in what is
    believed to be the worst case of computer vandalism to hit the country. 
    The sites are hosted by the Auckland-based Internet service provider the
    Internet Group, also known as Ihug. 
    The owners of the Web sites were initially told that the group's server -
    which is based in California - had suffered a storage disk failure,
    resulting in their "Homepages" being deleted. 
    There was no backup facility and, unless the owners had made their own
    copies, the Web pages were permanently lost. 
    Internet Group director Tim Wood said the company now knew the identity of
    the hacker and was taking legal advice. He said it had taken a few days to
    sort through what the intruder did when he breached the system on Monday. 
    An e-mail apologising to those affected says: "Unfortunately three days
    ago, a malicious hacker managed to get into our Homepages server in the
    It says the hacker accessed the system via a "security hole" in a "CGI
    script" - a small program on a Web page - and then damaged the disk drive
    and emergency backup on the computer server
    "When basic services were restored, we found that we had lost a large
    proportion of customers' directories; 4586 were unrecoverable." 
    The company provides Internet access to about 45,000 subscribers
    throughout New Zealand and Australia. It allows subscribers to create up
    to five free megabytes of Web pages, which can be accessed by anyone using
    the Internet.  Some 12,000 Web sites are hosted, including larger
    commercial sites which cost firms a monthly hosting fee. 
    Mr Wood said about 500 commercial sites had been affected.  A partner in
    the law firm Simpson Grierson, Mark Jeffries, said New Zealand did not
    have specific laws relating to electronic trespass. But if it could be
    shown there was intent to do wilful damage, a 1991 British case relating
    to hacking might support action under the Crimes Act. 
    NEW ZEALAND HERALD 19/11/1998 
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