Imagine trying to log onto your favorite local gay and lesbian news website only to get redirected to a cryptic warning page stating it was an attack site and could damage your computer. Well, this is what members of Portland, Oregon’s GLBT community faced this summer after a hacker’s handiwork was completed.
The main computer system for the website for JustOut (www.justout.com) was hacked into this summer and a worm virus was introduced which caused a variety of damage to the site. The last of this damage was remedied in late July. At the time, JustOut’s publisher Marty Davis stated, “I am very aware of the problems that hacking has created for my website. The problems are being handled on an hourly, daily basis. We’re doing the best that we can, as fast as we can.”
Accessing the site was greatly hampered for approximately six weeks after the hacker was able to insert the worm into the site’s main computer. Any attempt to access the site by typing the site name directly into a browser’s address bar brought up an official-looking warning page, which stated: “Reported Attack Site! This web site at-www.justout.com has been reported as an attack site.” And only at the very bottom of this page, in extremely tiny font, was a link which took one to the JustOut site. But even once on JustOut’s site, a banner in red still ran across the top of the page warning that the site could cause harm to anyone’s computer accessing the site.
Google search results for JustOut’s website were also impacted by the hacker’s antics. If one typed in “Portland Oregon gay news” in Google’s search window, two results came back for JustOut. Clicking on either of these two search result links, instead of taking one to the JustOut site, redirected one to a warning page which looked very similar to the warning page that came up by typing the address directly into a browser address bar, and it was also stated the site was an attack site which could harm one’s computer. But with the Google results, there was no link to the JustOut site anywhere on the page, so access to the site from these results was essentially blocked.
According to Google spokesperson Megan Lamb, “The warning pages appeared to be legitimate warnings from Google. What likely happened is that when the hacker hacked into the site he or she added some malicious code to the site and this prompted the Google malware warnings.”
The problems at JustOut caused by the hacker have been remedied, but without the hacking incident ever being reported to authorities, for reasons unknown. Marty Davis declined to elaborate.
Source : PageOneQ