File under oops. The website of The Telegraph newspaper has been defaced by hackers, apparently upset at a cult British television show and the newspaper itself for mocking their country. The 'Romania National Security' hacking group has claimed responsibility for the attack which hit a couple of third party services advertising sub-domains used by The Telegraph. The very roughly translated statement posted by the group states that is "sick and tired of seeing how some "garbage" like you try to mock our country" and bemoans how TV shows such as Top Gear refer disparagingly about "Romanian Gypsies". Top Gear presenter James May also has a motoring column in The Sunday Telegraph.
Tony Osborn, a security expert at Symantec, warns that having your website defaced is "akin to business grinding to a halt" and that exposing how unwelcome visitors can re-write content without permission "hinders the business and affects its reputation". Osborn continues "The Daily Telegraph isn't the first website to have been defaced (nor will it be the last), we've seen many high profile sites affected with this problem. Also, it is worth noting that not all of the site was affected by the alleged Romanian hackers. However, it does come down to the issue of ensuring web fronting systems are secure to mitigate against the risk of those with malicious intent trying to harm the business and its reputation. Simple measures include applying basic information risk management, prioritising web facing systems and ensuring patches are always up to date. Also, if websites are outsourced, then the organisation must ensure the hosting provider has the necessary information governance practices and security measures in place".
Security exposé specialists Hackersblog has previously reported all databases at the Telegraph are vulnerable to a simple SQL injection attack , although at the time of writing it is not known if this was the attack vector used by the Romanian hackers.
I'm a hacker turned writer and consultant, specialising in IT security. I've been a freelance word punk for over 20 years and along the way I have seen 23 of my books published, produced and presented programmes for TV and radio, picked up a bunch of awards and continue being a contributing editor with PC Pro - the best selling IT magazine in the UK .
I totally agree with the Romanian hackers. I'm sick of people calling us "Romanian gypsies" or thieves only because we are from Romania. There are nice, hard-working people here as well, people that work 8 hours per day. At least now people will know that Romanians are smart and technology-aware.