Hacker Hijacks Organization Websites

(Ping! Zine) – A recent hacking of a web hosting computer in Kansas Citytemporarily hijacked the websites of almost 50 organizations.

KCnet’s server had been corralled by midmorning on Friday — eliminating a cryptic page critical of Israel that had substituted images on various websites.

Even though it was the first time one of KCnet has ever been hacked into in 15 years of business, KCnet president James Nelson exclaimed, “It’s not something you like to wake up to. But these things aren’t that uncommon.”

Business and nonprofit groups contract with KCnet to host their websites. At one of those organizations — it wasn’t clear which one Thursday — a person with the authority to post pages to a website saw their password compromised.

Nelson said that opened a path for a hacker to replace the index pages on the roughly 50 websites run by the server — a 3-inch-by-2-foot piece of electronics racked alongside about 30 others.

So when people went to sites such as www.mazuma.org, the electronic home of the second-largest credit union in the Kansas City area, they found a picture of a Palestinian flag along with a crescent and a star superimposed on a map of Turkey. The image also included anti-Israel rhetoric.

“Our members’ money was never at risk,” said Rob Givens, president and chief executive of Mazuma. “In fact, you could still do online banking if you went directly to the right page. It was only the home page that was tied up.”

Nelson said some of his clients were worried about the hacking, but most were unaware their home pages were momentarily commandeered.

Service was back to normal about 10:30 a.m. Thursday, he said. The company was still running tests to figure out whose password had been stolen. Armed with that information, Nelson said, it would be easier to track the hacking.

“Somebody only got in there for half a second, but it was long enough to run (computer code),” he said. “And that messed things up.”