School website hacked by global hacker group

Posted: Thursday, August 19, 2010

For about half an hour Wednesday afternoon, if you were to go to the Juneau School District website you wouldn't have seen the colorful page with district information.

Juneau Empire
Juneau Empire

Kristin Bartlett, district communications manager, said the web server was altered at 12:20 p.m. and was restored by 12:50 p.m.

A hacker, identified by his handle s4r4d0, got into the district web server and changed the coding on most of the pages to show a simple white webpage with the phrase, "Fatal Error ownz you ! by s4r4d0."

That person, and at least one other, hack websites around the world under the group name Fatal Error, according to multiple posts made in internet forums related to hacking and fixing hacks.

s4r4d0 has posts on multiple hacking websites online claiming credit for numerous hacks, and states he or she has authored scripts - essentially a program that can change information in other programs - for several content management systems.

Several sites that deal with hacked sites or fixing the holes hackers use claim the hacker is from Brazil.

Bartlett said she's not aware of any direct contact from the hacker to the district.

Bartlett said the district's Information Technology staff was concerned about providing too much information on the matter because it could fuel further activity.

"They're pretty cautious about making a big deal out of it," she said. "The IT department was concerned about giving any specific information about the way that it happened that it would provide more information to the people doing these kinds of things. But the specific method used, now that's been disabled."

Joel Irwin, a member of the Juneau Empire's IT staff, said in this kind of hack, it's not necessarily a big deal because the hacker is more or less doing it for fun or bragging rights, not to gain information.

The alleged hacker did not immediately respond to an e-mail request for comment Wednesday.

• Contact Sarah Day at 523-2279 or sarah.day@juneauempire.com



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