Feeds

Phoenix Mars website invaded by hackers

Take me to your Web-app developer

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.