IJMC CIA Kills Internet Site

                    IJMC - CIA Kills Internet Site

Well, it isn't a killing killing, it's sort of a mercy killing. They say 
they'll try to revive it now that it is dead, we'll see. Read on for the 
scoop on why the CIA can't even keep up a web site.                -dave

Thursday September 19 10:51 PM EDT

CIA Kills Internet Site After Hackers Hit

WASHINGTON (Reuter) - The CIA pulled the plug on its Internet site
Thursday after a hacker broke in and posted a message declaring it the
``Central Stupidity Agency.''

CIA officials said their World Wide Web home page was not linked to
mainframe computers containing spy secrets or other classified national
security information. 

``There is no way to access internal CIA information from this home
page,'' said Rick Oborn, an agency spokesman. 

He said the site was tampered with on Wednesday night and had been shut
down by the agency on Thursday morning while a task force tried to prevent
another break-in. 

The unidentified hacker turned the home page of the Central Intelligence
Agency, a bastion of spy technology and computer wizardry, into a crude

``Welcome to the Central Stupidity Agency,'' it read. A picture of an
unknown man replaced that of CIA Director John Deutch and fictional links
offered ``News from Space'' and ''Nude Girls.'' The text also read ``Stop

No stranger to covert action, the CIA played down the possibility that it
was the victim of a cyber-era foe of the trenchcoat-and-dagger type that
it had battled in Cold War back alleys. 

``If there is any major enemy who wanted to do us damage, this is not
anything that causes us great concern,'' the spokesman said, adding that
he had no idea of the culprit's identity. 

He termed the attack ``malicious'' and said he was not shrugging it off.
The site, visited about 120,000 times a week, would be restored when the
agency's technicians were confident they had ``cleaned it up,'' officials

The spy agency has formed a task force to look into how the page was
penetrated and how to prevent a recurrence, they said. 

The web site (http://www.odci.gov/cia) showcases spy agency press
releases, speeches and other publicly available data including the CIA's
World Fact Book, a standard reference. 

The attack resembled one that forced the Justice Department to close its
Web site for a few days last month after hackers turned it into the
``Department of Injustice,'' inserting a swastika and picture of Adolf

The incident highlighted the vulnerability of Internet sites and drove
home the need for multiple layers of security to prevent manipulation of

``You want people to visit, you want them to interact, but you don't want
them to leave anything behind,'' said Jon Englund of the Information
Technology Association of America, a trade group of leading software and
telecommunications firms. 

Ben Brandenberg, the Justice Department's chief spokesman, said his
department had reopened its home page (http://www.usdoj.gov) after taking
unspecified ``reasonable measures'' to secure it from hackers. 

But there were no guarantees that the fixes would prevent repeat attacks,
he said, adding: ``This is a hazard of the information age.''

``If you make it bullet-proof, you make it useless to the public. We are
determined to keep it open,'' Brandenberg added. 

IJMC September 1996 Archives