Home Bringing Down the House: Hackers Deface U.S. Government Websites

Bringing Down the House: Hackers Deface U.S. Government Websites

Yesterday afternoon, just before President Obama’s first State of the Union address, the websites of the House of Representatives and those of multiple congressional members were defaced with anti-Obama messages. Among the defaced sites were those of Democratic Representative Charlie Gonzalez of Texas, and Republican representatives Spencer Bachus of Alabama, and Joe Wilson of South Carolina. These sites are currently down for maintenance.

Here is the messages that greeted visitors to house.gov yesterday afternoon:

FUCK OBAMA!! Red Eye CREW !!!!! O RESTO E HACKER !!! by m4V3RiCk ; HADES ; T4ph0d4 — FROM BRASIL

All the affected sites used the Joomla content management system, but it’s important to note that not every Joomla site hosted on the House’s servers was affected by this attack. According to the Wall Street Journal, all of these sites are managed by GovTrends, a private vendor.

Red Eye Crew

According to Praetorian Prefect, which specializes in chronicling Web security issues, the Red Eye Crew, which claimed responsibility for these attacks, specializes in defacing government sites. Last August, for example, one member of the group defaced over 450 government sites in Brazil. In total, the group is responsible for over 45,000 defacements.

It’s not clear how the attackers managed to deface these sites, but according to a spokesman for the House chief administrative officer, the attackers broke into these sites while GovTrends was performing routine maintenance.

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