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Hackers wipe out all of News International's websites

  • Red servers
  • Spoofed Sun

By Nicole Kobie and Barry Collins

Posted on 19 Jul 2011 at 07:30

Updated at 7:30am LulzSec has come out of retirement to take on News International, leading to all of the company's websites being taken offline.

The hacking group launched its attack on News International late last night, redirecting visitors to TheSun.co.uk to a spoof news story reporting the death of News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch. The website was later redirected to the hacking group's Twitter page.

Spoofed Sun

By the early hours of the morning, the attack had escalated to the rest of News International's websites. At the time of writing the websites of The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times were all down, along with the rest of the company's web properties. The attack also appears to be affecting The Times iPhone and iPad apps, although it isn't clear if the sites were taken offline by News International or by the hackers.

A message on the the LulzSec Twitter account claims "News International's DNS servers (link web addresses to servers) and all 1,024 web addresses are down".

The LulzSec and other Twitter accounts associated with hackers were also distributing login details and mobile phone numbers of staff from News International titles, allegedly including those of Rebekah Brooks. Another Twitter feed associated with the group claimed to have hacked a server owned by the now-defunct News of the World, calling on police to investigate the mail server.

The LulzSec hackers quit their "anti-security" operation last month, but have apparently returned to target News International following the phone-hacking scandal.

How the attack worked

The initial attack apparently exploited a flaw in a little-used server established when The Times erected its paywall, according to a report on The Guardian website. This allowed the hackers to plant some JavaScript code in a "breaking news" iFrame on the Sun's website, redirecting users to the fake news story and subsequently LulzSec's Twitter page.

That flaw also gave the hackers access to various News International login details and databases, allowing the attackers to wreak further havoc.

It is thought the hackers subsequently launched an attack on the company's DNS servers, which translate web addresses (i.e. www.thesun.co.uk) into the IP address of the website involved. Both of News International's DNS servers are operated in-house, according to reports, making it easier for the hackers to take down the company's websites.

News International was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

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User comments

I hope you get overtime working this late :)

By jamesyld on 18 Jul 2011

Not good...

Hopefully this example of a 'hack' hasn't gotten any further than the Sun website and has not caused any real damage.

I don't know about 'Success', but I can spell 'Compromised and Contaminated Evidence'

By greemble on 18 Jul 2011

I second jamesyld

Go to bed Nicole, get some sleep.

By greemble on 18 Jul 2011

All going mad on twitter, posting of logon details and mobile numbers of NI employees.

By jamesyld on 18 Jul 2011

Although this may compromise the case, it is highly unlikely that the police would of been able to expose the details in the servers. Although the police may of been able to get through to any secure areas, the likelihood of them having tried to access this is very minimal as it wouldnt normally hold major evidence.

I am glad to see hackers trying to do good for a change; I would rather them use the time to hack the Sun etc rather than spending it emptying my bank account!

By MikiD101 on 19 Jul 2011

The case is already compromised

When police investigating the News International group are the same people alledged to have been taking payments for passing on victim information, overseen by politicians who are wined, dined and funded by News International, how can the investigation be anything BUT compromised?

Better to have a totally separate force investigate.

All Lulsec have done is turn the tables.

Any evidence of phono hacking would be in journo's phone records, not in DNS servers.

By cheysuli on 19 Jul 2011

Ironic

Can people not see the irony of one group of hackers attackinganother. Or is Lulzsec somehow more moral the News International? Aren't they both hacking the privacy of people they don't like

By DJ2003 on 19 Jul 2011

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