Monday, February 1, 2010

Congress Suffers Big-Hack Attack

A hack attack on Congress
January 31, 2010 — 12:41pm ET | By Judi Hasson

Hackers recently walked into the lion's den and snared a big win by defacing 49 House websites in the hours after the State of the Union address last week. It's clear this was more than a random incident, and now House investigators are trying to figure out who was responsible, how they did it and whether they could do it again.

It's not the first time House websites have been hacked. In August, 19 sites met the same fate. Does this mean that it's all of a sudden open season on congressional websites?

Security experts are pointing to hackers from Brazil--the Red Eye Crew--has claimed responsibility for defacing thousands of websites since 2002. The same hackers previously broke into sites for the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and NASA, according to Gary Warner, director of research in computer forensics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In the latest case, the hacked web pages are managed by GovTrends, an Alexandra, Va.-based Web services vendor.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) jointly sent a letter last week to House Chief Administrative Officer Daniel P. Beard calling for "an immediate and comprehensive assessment" of how it happened.

"We also request that you take immediate action to protect against breaches of the House firewalls and to ensure website security of all House offices," they wrote.

Jeff Ventura, a spokesman for the House chief administrative officer, said that the working theory is that the infiltration happened during an upgrade that GovTrends was making to its system.

For more on this hack attack:
- see this Politico article

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