The website defacement competition may be a damp squib but InternetNZ chief executive Peter Macaulay is defending those that publicised it.
As Computerworld Onlinereported last week, a website offered a reward of free hosting for a year for the person or organisation that defaced the most websites in a six hour period. Most of the sites that have been reported as defaced or attacked are individual users' pages or similar. None of the major sites have been compromised.
"Damp squib or not, you can't take the risk with things like this. You have to warn people," says Macaulay.
He says only a handful of sites have been reported as defaced since the competition began. InternetNZ was repeatedly attacked over the weekend.
"We've had around 90 attacks I believe. Our firewall has stood firm though."
Macaulay says the kind of people who deface websites don't need encouragement and would have been involved in such activities anyway.
"They're like people that do graffiti - they have their own culture and don't need publicity to boost them along."
The Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection (CCIP), which monitors threats to New Zealand's infrastructure, suggests in a statement that most of the sites that are hit as a result of the competition are likely to have been targets anyway.
"It is likely that the majority of any defacements ... will be hosts [that] have already been compromised or scanned in preparation for defacement. Zone_h have advised that they have seen a sharp decline in the number of defacements submitted to their defacement mirror and suggest that compromised hosts are being 'saved up' in preparation for the challenge"
Zone-h, which monitors such activities, has been knocked off the web with a denial of service attack.