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

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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs