M&G website down after hack attack

2011-01-26 12:28

Cape Town - The Mail & Guardian website has been shut down over a hacking attack, the company announced on Wednesday.

"The Mail & Guardian's website is under sustained attack by hackers. We are dealing with the problem, but to make absolutely sure that your security isn't compromised, we have decided to suspend the service temporarily," it announced on its website.

More information will be released as it becomes available.

In 2010, several government websites were hacked, including the website of the National Prosecuting Authority as well as ISP MWEB.

"I don't think South African websites in particular are being targeted, but this one may be a particular group," HackingStats.com CEO Rian Visser told News24.

"The big hackers weren't behind this attack," he added.

Server attack

Visser said that the Mail & Guardian website was hosted by an American server that was the subject of the attack.

"M&G is hosted on the American server UltraDNS and they have been subject to a massive amount of attacks last year.

"Hackers attack a specific server and that could have been the M&G one," Visser added.

A global co-operative Conflicker Working Group has announced that it had successfully reduced the threat from the Conflicker internet worm, but on Wednesday computer security firm Kaspersky Lab warned that a new worm was exploiting Google's goo.gl service of truncated links.

This allowed users to be directed to an infected site where the user is prompted to download a malicious program which could then spread and infect other computers.

"However, shortened links can seriously threaten computer security, because the text of a truncated URL is relatively obscure and a user does not know what it contains prior to ending up on an infected site. Hackers are managing to successfully lure the unwary into using their malicious truncated links," Kaspersky Lab said in a statement.

Mail & Guardian's online editor Chris Roper explained why the site was taken down: "Rather than compromise security, we've done a surgical takedown and redeploy the site. There was big debate in the company over how we should deal with it. Ultimately we decided to take the knock now and go for a secure site in the future."

There is no word on when the Mail & Guardian website will be back online.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

Read more on:    mail and guardian  |  internet  |  cybercrime
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