Hacker fills Justice Department home page with graffiti Obscenity-laden break-in attacks new Decency Act

August 18, 1996|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON -- A computer hacker vandalized the home page of the Department of Justice on Friday night, posting obscenities and anti-government graffiti, a department official said yesterday.

The Justice Department's site on the World Wide Web was shut down early yesterday after members of the public called to report the electronic break-in, said a department spokesman, Joe Krovisky.

The site will remain shut while the department's technical experts assess its security, he said.

Krovisky said the system the hacker broke into was separate from the department's internal computer system, which contains highly sensitive information about criminal cases and investigations.

"There's no way that the internal department information could have been affected" by a hacker who gained access to the information presented on the web site, he said.

"That would have been impossible."

The hacker replaced information on the home page with obscenities, graffiti and anti-government statements, he said, but declined to give details.

The Associated Press reported that the site was changed to read "United States Department of Injustice," next to a red, black and white flag bearing a swastika.

The text of the page was written over a background of gray swastikas, and at the top declared in red letters: "This page is in violation of the Communications Decency Act."

The page included color pictures of George Washington; Adolf Hitler, who is called the attorney general; and a topless Jennifer Aniston, one of the stars of NBC's "Friends," the Associated Press said.

Other sexually explicit images were shown.

The hacker used most of the web site to criticize the Communication Decency Act, signed in February, which makes transmitting sexually explicit material in ways children might see it a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

"As the largest law firm in the nation, the Department of Justice serves to punish all who don't agree with the moral standards set forth by [President] Clinton," the page said.

"Anything and anyone different must be jailed."

Two panels of federal judges, one in Philadelphia and another in New York, have declared the act unconstitutional because it violates First Amendment rights of free expression.

Pub Date: 8/18/96

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