Spammers Hit HNN

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On Wednesday October 9, 2002 HNN's website at George Mason University was hacked. The hackers, operating from multiple remote computers, succeeded in commandeering the HNN service which allows readers to send an article to a friend. Acting in the wee hours of the morning, the hackers emailed an HNN article to some 18,000 people. The emails bore the return addresses of the so-called"Campus Watch 8," the professors who have been targeted by Daniel Pipes's Campus Watch website for allegedly harboring an anti-Israel bias. Across the top of the article was the statement:"Terrorist lovers burn in Hell."

The article the spammers sent? An HNN breaking news bulletin from September 23 about spammers who had inundated the mailboxes of the Campus Watch professors with up to 1,400 unwanted emails a day.

The hackers have not identified themselves as members of any group and have not explained what their goal is. We do not know their identity. We do not know if they are the people who were behind the spamming of the Campus Watch professors. Nor do we know why they spammed the people they did. A spot check of the addresses of the people receiving the emails indicates that two broad groups seem to have been targeted: white racists and Middle Eastern/Arab/Palestinians. Many belong to Yahoo groups.

George Mason University is investigating the source of the emails. New security measures are being taken to safeguard the HNN site from a future hack attack. Until those measures are put in place the email service that had been taken over has been temporarily disabled.

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Orson Olson - 10/13/2002

...SIMMER down, boys and girls.