Multiple Web sites defaced in hacking spree

A group of malicious hackers have gone on a defacement spree last week, breaking into a string of corporate Web sites to replace text and graphics with digital graffiti.

Among the victims of the hackers, who go by the name "Sm0ked Crew," were Web sites owned by The New York Times, Compaq Computer Corp., Intel , AltaVista, Hewlett Packard Co. and The Walt Disney's soon-to-be-defunct Go.com unit. Mirror images of the defacements are viewable at the Attrition.org site, which documents such breaches.

The defacements started out as little more than crude graffiti earlier this week, with a simple text message noting that the targeted Web sites had been hacked and by whom. Thursday, the Sm0ked Crew, which is apparently a two-person shop, added graphics to the graffiti that it leaves behind. Attempts to contact one of the defacers via e-mail resulted in a returned message that was said to be undeliverable.

Attrition.org immediately notified Web site administrators at the targeted companies after learning of the hacks, in keeping with its policy. In the case of The New York Times Co., an Attrition.org member said the site remain defaced for at least an hour and was then replaced by a page with a message stating that the server was down.

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