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Surfers trying to visit the web site of popular secure email service Hushmail were redirected to a false site early Sunday following a hacking attack. Hush Communications said hackers changed Hushmail's DNS records after "compromising the security" of its domain registrar (Network Solutions). These changes were undone after a few hours on Sunday and normal Hushmail services have now been restored.

During the period of the attack users visiting Hushmail.com were confronted by a defaced page (as captured by defacement archive Zone-h here) containing a jokey reference that The Secret Service is watching. Agent Leth and Clown Jeet 3k Inc. Things might have been far worse if hackers had used the ruse to set up a doppelganger site under their control for the purposes of obtaining the pass phrases needed to access the encrypted email service (a trick known as a pharming attack). As it was the impact of the attack was limited to lost email.

In a statement, Hush Communications said: "There was no unauthorized access to any of the Hush servers. Data managed by Hush was not compromised. During this period, email sent to hushmail.com will not have been delivered. Please accept our sincerest apologies for the inconvenience this has caused. We take this incident very seriously, and will continue to update this page as more information becomes available."

Hush Communications said Hushmail users said users should be careful to make sure they are on its secure web page before they enter their pass phrase. "If your browser displays any error messages about the 'certificate' that verifies the website, do not continue," it adds. ®

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