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Hackers Deface Senate Web Page and Force FBI to Close Its Site

May 28, 1999| From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Computer hackers continued a series of electronic attacks against some Internet sites for the federal government Thursday, defacing a Web page for the U.S. Senate before it was taken down.

The Web site for the FBI also remained inaccessible late Thursday, a day after the agency said hackers tried to compromise it. It was unclear when the FBI site might be made available again.

"There was an attempt [Wednesday] by unknown persons to unlawfully gain access to the fbi.gov Web site," according to a statement Thursday from the agency. "It was unsuccessful; however, as a precaution, the FBI shut down the site and is now taking additional steps to further insulate it."

An obscene message left briefly on the Senate's Web site Thursday blamed the attack on what it said was the FBI's harassment of specific hacker groups, including the group that took credit for breaking into the White House site earlier this month.

Other federal Web sites, including those for the White House and the House of Representatives, appeared to be operating normally late Thursday.

MSNBC reported that the attacks stemmed from the FBI's execution of a search warrant on the home of a prominent hacker in Houston.

FBI spokesman Rolando Moss confirmed that agents were investigating allegations of computer intrusions involving the Houston hacker. The FBI executed four search warrants that remained sealed, Moss said.

Earlier this month, a grand jury in northern Virginia indicted Eric Burns, 19, on three counts of computer intrusion. Burns is reportedly known on the Internet as "Zyklon" and believed to be a member of the group that claimed responsibility for the attacks on the White House and Senate sites.

Federal prosecutors accused Burns of breaking into a computer between August 1998 and January 1999 in northern Virginia that is used by the U.S. Information Agency.

"Zyklon" was one of a dozen names listed on the hacked version of the White House Web site, which was altered overnight Sunday for a few minutes before government computers automatically detected the intrusion.

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