Spy plane incident leads to government hack

Web sites belonging to the US Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services (HHS) were defaced Saturday, though both sites were back to normal operations shortly thereafter. Two Health and Human Services Web sites, Health.gov and Surgeongeneral.gov were attacked, with Health.gov defaced to include the photo of Wang Wei and the Surgeon General's site crashed outright, said Bill Hall, HHS spokesman.

Though Hall declined to speculate on the motives or the individuals responsible for the hacks, he did say that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is looking into the matter and that neither site lost any data.

The Department of Labor's site was hacked by a seemingly pro-China group. A message left on the site, signed by the "Honker Union of China," said that the group "Maintains the reunification of the motherland! Guards the national sovereignty! Outside consistent resistance shame! Attack anti-Chinese arrogance!" Though the Department of Labor did not return repeated calls requesting comment, the Associated Press reported the details of the defacement and Attrition.org is hosting a mirror of the hacked site.

The defacements come only a few days after the US National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) issued a warning to US government agencies and businesses saying that Chinese hackers might undertake a campaign of hacking in response to the death of Wang Wei. According to the NIPC, the hacks might take place between April 30 and May 7, thus including May Day (May 1), Youth Day (May 4) and the anniversary of the US bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (May 7).

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Sam Costello

PC World

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