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Ankle-biting hackers storm net's overlords, hijack their domains

IANA and ICANN succumb to NetDevilz

Website security in corporate America

The websites of two of the net's most critical oversight organizations were hijacked by Turkish hackers who sent visitors to rogue pages that challenged the overseers' authority.

Some of the official domains for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) were temporarily under the control of a group that calls itself NetDevilz, according to zone-h, which tracks hijackings of individual websites. Specific domains that were hijacked included "icann.com," "icann.net," "iana.com" and "iana-servers.com."

People who tried to visit the sites were greeted with a message that read: "You think that you control the domains but you don't! Everybody knows wrong. We control the domains including ICANN! Don't you believe us?"

This may have come as something of a shock to the principals of IANA and ICANN, which have authority over some of the most the net's most critical functions. IP address allocation, management of the domain name system's root zone servers and oversight over the way domain names are registered and maintained are just a few of them.

That a group calling itself NetDevilz could even temporarily take control of the websites underscores the tentativeness of law and order on the net. Over the past six months millions of web pages, many belonging to Fortune 500 companies and government agencies throughout the world, have also been compromised through a technique known as SQL injection.

An ICANN spokesman said the redirection was corrected within 20 minutes and that an investigation is ongoing at its registrar to figure out how DNS records got changed. Representatives from IANA weren't reachable.

NetDevilz recently commandeered the website for popular photo-sharing site Photobucket, and last month pranksters briefly took control of Comcast's website. According to this post by researcher Dancho Danchev, NetDevilz carried out their latest feat using a single fraudulent email that instructed engineers to update DNS records for the organizations' domains. The IP address used to host the rogue pages was the same one used in last week's Photobucket incident.

The hijackings come a day after ICANN announced a landmark decision to create customized top-level domains, a move that will broaden the supply generic extensions such as .com and .org to include a seemingly infinite supply of words. ®

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