Computer Crime Research Center


Hacker attacked city council website

Date: November 06, 2007

Only one system was compromised - the database which delivers our A-Z of Services. No other systems were affected.

An Aberdeen City Council spokesman said: "We were alerted to the attack on Monday morning and within 10 minutes of that notification we had shut the site down to investigate the attack. Within an hour we had the site up and running again, with the A-Z of Services switched off until we could make changes to the system behind it.

"Within three hours of first notification the whole site was back online and working. We'd secured the system to prevent future attacks of this kind. All other databases had been checked for similar vulnerabilities."

The effect of the original attack was that the links to the A-Z of Service entries had been hijacked to point them to a site, hosted in China, which contained inappropriate content and tried to get users to download infected files.

The spokesman added: "We apologise to anyone who may have been affected by this. We take the security of our website extremely seriously."

Anyone whose PC is properly maintained with up-to-date anti-virus software should not have been affected. The City Council recommends that anyone who accessed the A-Z of Services on Sunday [Nov 4] or early on Monday morning, and was taken to an inappropriate site by following the links, should check their PC immediately with an up-to-date virus checker.

Employers should be able to assist anyone who was using a PC at work.
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