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[infowar.de] NYTimes.com Article: Hackers Hit Global Leaders' Summit
Hackers Hit Global Leaders' Summit
February 1, 2002
Filed at 9:54 p.m. ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - An invisible cyber assault has cut off
access for the second day running to the Web site of the
World Economic Forum, organizers of the gathering of the
world's political and business elite confirmed on Friday.
The flood of Internet traffic to the Web site at
http://www.weforum.org began on Thursday afternoon, the
first day of a five-day conference, and continued through
Friday, with only intermittent let-up, a conference
``What we do know is that too many hits on our Web site are
shutting it down,'' spokesman Charles McLean told a
briefing for reporters attending the summit on Friday.
``If it's in fact vandals, that's unfortunate because we
are in the dialogue business and dialogue involves
communication,'' he said. The Web site ``is a way for us
reaching out to people out in the streets.''
The shutdown appeared to be an example of a common type of
computer vandalism known as a ``denial of service'' attack.
This involves overwhelming a site with false computer
requests, rendering the information inaccessible to
Law-enforcement sources confirmed details of a Village
Voice online account of the cyber vandalism on the World
Economic Forum (WEF) Web site, making it the second year in
a row in which the event's Internet site has come under
Last year, hackers broke into the WEF site and gained
access to a private list of 27,000 names, including
personal details such as credit card data and phone numbers
of participants. An unidentified group of hackers calling
themselves ``Virtual Monkeywrench'' took credit for that
The World Economic Forum annual meeting allows many of the
world's most powerful leaders to attend exclusive workshops
to discuss issues ranging from the root causes of violence
to reviving global economic growth to lighter cultural
This year's meeting of 2,700 delegates takes place in New
York under tight security that has cordoned off several
busy blocks of midtown Manhattan.
The event was shifted to New York from the ski resort of
Davos, Switzerland, where it had been held for 31 years --
in a gesture of solidarity with the city scarred by the
Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.
However, the event also has been the occasion for protest
by critics who complain that the summit is a talk-shop for
the rich that fails to result in substantive change. So far
protests have been limited, but a street march is scheduled
for Saturday near the hotel where the event is being held.
HACKERS TAKE CREDIT
New York-based Village Voice
newspaper said in its online edition that the Electronic
Disturbance Theater, RTMark, and Federation of Random
Action have taken credit for crashing the Web site.
According to law-enforcement professionals a group calling
itself ``The Yes Men'' released version 2.0 of Reamweaver,
their automatic Web site parody software, and set it loose
on the WEF Web site.
The software allows users to instantly redirect visitors
from a site such as the official WEF home page to a new
site dictated by users of the parody software. At the same
time, Reamweaver allows users to change any words they
For example, the first line on the official WEF Web site,
''Reducing Poverty and Improving Equity,'' is turned into:
''Reducing Uselessness and Improving Profit-Sharing.''
``The Web site is one of the key ways of offering
transparency and showing people what we are doing here,''
McLean said, but dismissed the breakdown as a nuisance
rather than a major event.
He added that his organization had hoped to use the site to
make portions of the event available to the public,
answering criticism that the event was secretive.
``We would like to broadcast plenary sessions here,''
McLean said, referring to events at which speakers ranging
from the Secretary of State Colin Powell to rock star
activist Bono have appeared.
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