Feeds

Phoenix Mars website invaded by hackers

Take me to your Web-app developer

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Add the webpages for the Phoenix Mars Lander to the list of high-profile sites that have been hacked by script kiddies. Not once, but twice.

Security pros had to take down the University of Arizona-hosted site after hackers replaced the lead blog entry with graffiti that read "hacked by VITAL." As if that wasn't enough, members of the self-declared "sql loverz crew" redirected baffled visitors of the Phoenix mission's official webpage and a companion site to a third-party destination. That page gave credit to hackers going by the names BLaSTER and Cr@zy_king.

Red is the color of the Martian surface, but it seems it also describes the faces of security pros responsible for the sites. Evidently, they had better things to do than vet their scripts for SQL-injection vulnerabilities. So these hackers were willing to step in and test the sites for them.

Not that these sites are by any means alone. Over the past few months, millions of webpages - some belonging to the US Department of Homeland Security, the United Nations and the UK Civil Service - have been hit by similar exploits. The attacks aren't the result of vulnerabilities in the database or web services software provided by Microsoft, Apache and others, but rather in the custom-made web applications built on top of them.

There are no reports that redirected visitors in this latest episode were exposed to links that attempted to silently install malware on their machines. But carrying out such malicious attacks would have been trivial for these hackers. We're wondering how much longer it's going to take the world's web developers to get on top of the SQL-injection epidemic that's sweeping the net.

In the meantime, we'll be hunkering down with the Firefox browser and the NoScript extension. It's not perfect, but in this environment of haphazard web security, it's essential. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.