Who Could Hack Web Regulators?

Dennis Faas's picture

A Turkish hacking group has vandalised the websites of those groups that run the Internet's address system.

Sites belonging to the Internet Assigned Numbers Agency (IANA) and its parent organisation the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) both fell victim to the hackers.

ICANN and IANA manage the routing system which allows web users to type in a domain name (such as www.infopackets.com) rather than having to know the specific IP address (a string of numbers which identifies a particular computer) where the website is physically located.

Their sites briefly redirected to a server operated by a German hosting company and displayed a message reading "You think that you control the domains but you don't! Everybody knows wrong. We control the domains including ICANN! Don't you believe us?" (Source: zone-h.org)

The group responsible named themselves as NeTDevilz and concluded with a hearty "haha :)" The same group has previously orchestrated similar attacks on image sharing site Photobucket and spywareterminator.com, which promotes and distributes a spyware removal tool.

NeTDevilz are keeping quiet about how they pulled off the vandalism, but there's some speculation that it could be a remarkably simple trick. It appears that, rather than making any form of electronic connection to the sites, they may have simply forged an email telling engineers to update the DNS records, which are the settings that match a website address to an IP address. (Source: channelregister.co.uk)

It's been quite the week for ICANN, which has been busy with its annual general meeting where it decided to overhaul the domain name system to allow any term to be used as a 'top level domain' (the slot at the end of an address currently restricted to a few terms such as .com and .org). Crooks capitalising on the group's current high-profile have been using its name in a phishing attempt aimed at tricking domain owners into handing over details of their ICANN accounts. (Source: domainnamewire.com)

There's some comfort in the fact that the NeTDevilz attack only affects ICANN's website rather than their actual services -- if somebody managed that, they could wreak utter havoc. But it's still extremely embarrassing...almost like seeing a traffic cop 'pantsed' on duty.

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