Brazilian Crackers Hit Federal Web Sites

FRAMINGHAM (03/22/2000) - A group known as "Crime Boys" attacked at least two U.S. federal government Web sites during the past two weeks and replaced government home pages with their own.

The Crime Boys, who claim they are Brazilian, twice broke into the Bureau of Land Management's National Training Center site to post their message of protest against the Brazilian government. The crackers also reportedly hit an U.S. Army ROTC home page and attempted to attack NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Web site, prompting the agency to block out Brazilian traffic.

The crackers broke into the Bureau of Land Management's National Training Center site on March 12 and 16, each time posting their signature message, according to David Quick, an agency spokesman.

Both successful attacks occurred when the site was vulnerable, according to John Whiting, a Phoenix-based computer specialist for the agency.

"We were publishing some updates, and they came in right after us and published their own page," Whiting said.

The attacked site uses Microsoft's FrontPage software. Whiting said the agency has taken steps to stave off future attacks.

At the Pasadena, Calif.-based NASA lab, the agency blocked Brazilian traffic from viewing its home page for several days after officials detected attacks on their Web site, an agency spokeswoman said. The block was removed on March 17, but the agency would not release any additional information.

The crackers also were successful in breaking into the home page of an Army ROTC site, according to published reports. The attacked pages were up only for a short time, Quick said, and the attacks did not cause any lasting damage.

"It's a nuisance," Whiting said. "(But) it's also a wake-up call."

The Bureau of Land Management is working with the Federal Computer Incident Response Capability on the attacks, Quick said. Attempts to reach the agency for comment were unsuccessful.

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