US House websites hacked, private vendors under suspicion

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Washington, Jan. 29 (ANI): Investigators are probing how hackers managed to infiltrate 49 US House of Representatives web sites just hours after President Obama's State of the Union address.

On Thursday, hackers replaced the usual pages that congressmen and committees use with an attack on President Barack Obama.

On each of the hacked sites, the usual material was replaced by a white screen and the words: "F- OBAMA!! Red Eye CREW !!!!! O RESTO E HACKER !!! by HADES; m4V3RiCk; T4ph0d4 - FROM BRASIL."

While information technology experts at the Capitol are still trying to confirm the origin of the attack, they are zeroing in on the technology vendor that manages some House Web sites, Politico reports.

GovTrends, an Alexandria-based provider of web services, host sites for members of Congress, but all members are free to use outside vendors to manage and upgrade their pages.

This practice appears to have allowed third parties access to the Web sites outside of congressional firewalls.

Jeff Ventura, a spokesman for the House chief administrative officer, said that the working theory is that the penetration happened during an upgrade that GovTrends was making to its own system.

"We're discussing our options," Ventura said.

The Praetorian Security Group, a New York-based firm that specializes in detecting computer intrusions, has fingered the Red Eye Crew, an anonymous group that has claimed credit for defacing thousands of web sites.

It appears that the group is based in Brazil, and the same loose-knit crew also claimed credit for hacking into 453 government sites in Brazil last August. (ANI)

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