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  Anti-NATO Hackers Sabotage 3 Web Sites

By Stephen Barr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 12, 1999; Page A25

Computer hackers protesting NATO's bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade sabotaged three U.S. government Web sites, Clinton administration officials said yesterday.

The hackers placed anti-NATO messages on Web pages operated by the Energy Department, the Interior Department and one Interior bureau, the National Park Service. The cyber-attacks late Sunday forced the Energy Department and the Park Service to shut down their home pages for much of Monday.

The Interior Department hacker "was traced back to China by DOI computer experts," said Interior spokesman Tim Ahearn. "The FBI is looking into it now."

Energy spokeswoman Michelle Del Valle said, "We don't know who did it," but she noted that "the hackers claimed in a message that they were Chinese." She said the DOE has started an investigation.

The officials said the Web pages were pulled off line quickly after the sabotage was discovered. Electronic firewalls protected other parts of the departmental computer systems from attack, they said.

Del Valle said hackers placed the following message, with parts in imperfect English, on the DOE's site:

"Protest U.S.A.'s Nazi action! Protest NATO's brutal action! We are Chinese hackers who take no cares about politics. But we can not stand by seeing our Chinese reporters been killed which you might have know. Whatever the purpose is, NATO led by U.S.A. must take abosolute responsibility. You have owed Chinese people a bloody debt which you must pay for. We won't stop attacking until the war stops!"

NATO bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade on Saturday, killing three people, including at least one journalist. U.S. and NATO officials said the bombing was an accident caused by reliance on an outdated map.

At Interior, Ahearn said hackers sabotaged the home page about 10 p.m. Sunday, replacing photographs and information with "pictures of Asian people and Chinese writing." It took about five hours to take the page off the Web, restore data and bring it back on line.

Another federal Web site was hit April 30 and was down until May 3, Ahearn said.

The White House Web site was shut down Monday night after attempts were made Monday morning to hack into the system. White House spokesman Barry Toiv said it was shut down through last night to try to determine whether hackers tampered with the White House computer system. Toiv said he did not know who was responsible.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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