A manifesto of sorts was posted in support of Napster's fight against music industry labels, titled ""The Save Napster Hack Attack."
Though all the sites were apparently restored within 24 hours, with the exception of broken links which may not have anything to do with the crackers, a cached version of the pro-Napster post is visible on Attrition.org, a site that collects information about Web-site attacks.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Infrastructure Protection Center is "looking into the reports," said FBI spokeswoman Debbie Weierman.
A federal judge ruled against Napster in a lawsuit filed by record companies represented by the Recording Industry Association of America, ordering the site to take action to stop copyright violations, but that order was stayed pending appeal.
Attrition.org, which calls itself a computer security Web site, claimed to have verified hacks to Web sites owned by Honda, TDK USA, 800shoes.com and Mitsubishi Electric Automation. Company representatives didn't return calls by deadline to comment on the claims.
Ben McLaren, president of Models Network International in Florida, told Computerworld by e-mail that his company's site was among those hacked. McLaren said that the site, www.models.net, was hit twice but, after what he described as "extra precautions," hadn't been bothered since.
A librarian's list serve hosted at Stanford University's Web site featured a day-long discussion thread on the attack at the Web site for the Bibliotheque nationale de France, another site reportedly hacked.
One librarian on the Ex Libris listserve said at least one cracker gave an AOL. e-mail address where he can be reached. There was no response by press time to an e-mail message sent to that address. Sandrine Cellard, a French bookseller, confirmed on the list the BNF site had indeed been, "hacqued."
"It sounds like we have a few kids running amok," said Eric Hemmendinger, an analyst at Aberdeen Group in Boston. In fact, the "Save Napster" post was signed, "Hi Mom!"
"This isn't a security story. This is really a story about how the music industry is dealing with its former reluctance to work with the Internet," Hemmendinger said.
It's not even about Napster, said Ira Winkler, president of the Internet Security Advisors Group and author of "Corporate Espionage."
"A lot of hacking goes on because people want to hack and then they find a cause later," Winkler said "The issue is that now people are just hacking Web sites and then saying they are doing it to support Napster. . . . If you had someone with maturity who supported Napster, they would not hack a Web site. That's not going to make friends and influence people."