News / USA

Iranian Hackers Attack VOA Internet Sites

Graphic that was displayed after hackers temporarily redirected VOA's web traffic Feb. 21, 2011
Graphic that was displayed after hackers temporarily redirected VOA's web traffic Feb. 21, 2011
William Ide

A group of computer hackers hijacked websites run by the Voice of America this week, sending its online traffic to an Internet website claimed to be run by the Iranian Cyber Army.  The attack comes as the U.S. government is renewing its push to promote freedom in cyber space and as protests spread across the Middle East - some with the help of the Internet.

In a statement Tuesday, the Voice of America says the attack redirected traffic from numerous websites - including the international broadcaster's main site: voanews.com.  Instead of seeing VOA's website, visitors saw a page with an anti-U.S. message addressing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and an Iranian flag along with an AK-47 assault weapon.

Large bolder letters read:  "We have proven that we can."

The group claiming responsibility for the attack - the Iranian Cyber Army - is said to have ties to the Iranian government.

Cyber security expert Jeffrey Carr says the Iranian Cyber Army should be taken seriously. "There are a few hacker crews operating out of Iran that do have allegiances or ties with the Iranian government.  The Iranian Cyber Army is one of them.  They have a good skills set.  These are not script kiddies [inexperienced hackers]," he said.

The Fars News Agency, which is closely affiliated with the Iranian government, praised the attack and said it was made in retaliation for what it called "false reports" about Iran.

The State Department recently launched a Twitter feed in the Farsi language.  Iran has criticized the initiative and accused the United States of using the Internet to organize opposition forces.

In a speech on Internet freedom last week, Secretary of State Clinton made specific reference to Iran.  "In Iran, the authorities block opposition and media websites, target social media and steal identifying information about their own people in order to hunt them down," she said.

It is unclear how the attack against the Voice of America was carried out. Industry experts note that the hackers who are behind the disruption most likely chose Monday to launch the attack because it was a U.S. holiday and most federal employees were not at work.

In late 2009, the Iranian Cyber Army claimed responsibility for an attack on Twitter, which was used widely by Iranian government opponents in post-election protests that year.  Last year, the Iranian Cyber Army launched an attack on the Chinese search engine Baidu.

Both attacks were domain name system, or DNS attacks, like the one on VOA.

Cyber security expert Jeffrey Carr says attacks such as these should not to be taken lightly. "This type of an attack actually can be quite serious because if [hackers] have DNS access, they can collect your mail.  They essentially can own your entire online presence," he said.

The Voice of America says no data have been lost or compromised and that most of the sites affected are returning to normal.

You May Like

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

At Boston Bombing Hearing, Sides Spar Over Boat

At final pre-trial hearing, lawyers for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, prosecutors disagree on whether vessel where he hid from police can be shown to jurors More

Iran Judiciary 'Picks' Lawyer for Detained WP Reporter

Masoud Shafii has been attempting to secure official recognition as Rezaian’s attorney, but is not allowed to see his client in prison More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More