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[ISN] Hackers deface Federal Executive Board Web sites
From: InfoSec News (alertsinfosecnews.org)
Date: Mon Aug 21 2006 - 01:44:40 CDT
By Daniel Pulliam
dpulliam at govexec.com
August 18, 2006
Several Web sites for Federal Executive Boards that are hosted by the
Office of Personnel Management remain disabled after a hacker defaced
them more than two weeks ago.
As reported by Network Information Security and Technology News, the
FEB's main Web site as well as several affiliate Web sites, including
ones in New York City, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle, have
been down since Aug. 2.
Kim Ainsworth, executive director of the Greater Boston Federal
Executive Board, said when she logged onto the board's site on Aug. 2 at
around 8:20 a.m., she thought she had gone to the wrong place.
"I almost fell over when I saw the site," Ainsworth said. "The first
thing I do every morning is log onto the Internet ... it scared the heck
out of me."
Ainsworth said an image of the Boston board's defaced Web site is
accurately portrayed at an independent site dubbed Zone-h. The defaced
site states "HaCKeD By" followed by what appears to be an e-mail address
and then the words "for Islam for Turkey."
Within 10 minutes after Ainsworth reported the problem to OPM and a
network of FEB executive directors, all affected sites were taken down,
she said. Ainsworth estimated the sites were up in their defaced form
for eight hours at most.
The FEBs were created in 1961 to allow for a greater level of
coordination among federal agencies outside Washington, D.C. They fall
under the general oversight of OPM.
Because the hackers redirected the FEB sites, files were not
compromised. FEB sites not hosted by OPM, including the Greater Los
Angeles Federal Executive Board's site, which is hosted by the Federal
Aviation Administration, remain up and running.
Ainsworth said the Web site outage is a relatively insignificant problem
since all disaster-related information is communicated through a
separate Web portal not linked to the Boston board's Web site.
But Kathrene Hansen, executive director of the Los Angeles executive
board, said that 13 FEB sites across the country are down, compromising
the organization's ability to coordinate during an emergency.
"A number of us post information on our sites in the event of a
disaster," Hansen said. "Once again, it kind of shows what a low
priority FEBs are."
Dianna Louie, executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area Federal
Executive Board, said she is concerned that getting the Web sites back
online may not be a priority for OPM.
"If it were OPM's site, we'd be up and running," Louie said. "It's a
concern in terms of time."
"We are working on this issue and hope to resolve it soon," said Michael
Orenstein, an OPM spokesman. He declined to answer further questions.
Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute in Bethesda,
Md., a nonprofit cybersecurity research organization, said it is all too
common for government Web sites to be defaced. In the spring of 2001,
100 .gov and .mil Web sites were defaced in 100 days, Paller said. The
primary reason more sites are not defaced is that hackers can make more
money from other types of cyberattacks, he said.
A defacement nearly always triggers a security review, and the
organization's managers will not want to put the Web site back online
until they know "it won't happen again," Paller said.
"If the reviewers are not very fast and very good," Paller said,
"systems can be down weeks."
2006 by National Journal Group Inc. All rights reserved.
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