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 Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid