One in a series of somewhat random hackings. “Islamists hack youth opera’s site,” by David DeKok for The Patriot-News:
People who go to the Web site of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Opera expect to find information on activities such as the performance of Brundibar or upcoming auditions.
But yesterday, visitors to www.cpyo.com found instead a manifesto from a Turkish Islamic extremist group called MDX that had hacked, or broken into and changed, the Web site. The message was in Turkish, and it left CPYO director Addie Applebaum wondering why the group was targeted.
“This has caused me hours of documenting this to the FBI and the Internet Crime Complaint Center, not to mention contacting various patrons, vendors, etc.,” Applebaum said.
Aydan Kut, a Turk who is helping the owners of Mitrani at Home, a retailer of imported goods at 3535 Walnut St., translated the MDX message for The Patriot-News.
He recognized the flag as that of an extremist group trying to force an Islamic state in Turkey, which has had a secular government since the 1920s.
“It’s not nice,” Kut said of the message. “It’s not a message to you. They don’t accept Turkey and want an Islamic state.”
Turkey has been in political turmoil the past week over the presidential candidacy of the foreign minister, who is viewed by the Turkish army as having ties to Islamic groups that threaten the future of the secular state.
In mid-April, MDX hacked several municipal Web sites in the Australian state of Victoria. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the hacking other than a desire to place a manifesto on the Internet sites of others.
Peter S. Tippett, chief technology officer of CyberTrust in northern Virginia, said there are 5,000 to 10,000 successful hacker attacks on Web sites monthly.
“There used to be a lot more,” he said. “Out of Mechanicsburg, we track 11,000 hackers and what they claim to have done. That’s maybe 1 to 5 percent of the total.”
Tippett, who was also the founder of National Computer Security Association in Carlisle, said “the bad guys” use software programs called “bots” to search out vulnerable computers around the world. Bots can take over home computers without the knowledge of the owner and use them to search out other vulnerable computers.
Small organizations such as the youth opera that have a Web site displayed online by a hosting company should make sure the company provides a security firewall, even if that costs a little more, and that all software is updated, Tippett said. Most hosting companies only provide electricity and a Web address, he said.
Applebaum said yesterday that the youth opera’s domain name hosting service, DotRegistrar.com in Vancouver, Canada, had taken down the MDX hack site and was diverting visitors to a different page. The company told her the original hacking had targeted the hosting company, SECUREDC.com.