Hackers Hit Al-Jazeera Web Site

Mar 26, 2003 (07:03 PM EST)

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Hackers on Thursday replaced the English-language Web site for Arab satellite television network Al-Jazeera with a U.S. flag and the message "Let Freedom Ring."

The hackers, calling themselves the "Freedom Cyber Force Militia," briefly hijacked Internet traffic destined for Al-Jazeera's Web site and redirected it to a different Web page on computers operated by Networld Connections Inc., an Internet provider in Salt Lake City.

The likely hacking technique, called "DNS poisoning," fools so-called domain name servers across the Internet and is relatively difficult to defend against. Internet records show the Web directories sending traffic to Al-Jazeera's site were changed early Thursday, apparently without authorization.

The page also included the message, "God bless our troops," signed by a self-described "Patriot." There was no response to an E-mail sent to an address on the Web page.

A spokesman for Al-Jazeera confirmed the incident but said he had no further information.

The Arab network's Web site has been suffering disruptions for days, ever since it showed pictures of dead and captive U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Al-Jazeera, also based in Qatar, is an unusually independent voice in the Arab world.