The Real Yahooligans

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NEW YORK: Back in March, a gang of Internet miscreants known as HAGIS hacked into NASA's web site and posted a warning of their impending "attack on corporate America" in which "all who profit from the misuse of the Internet will fall victim to our ... reign of digital terrorism." On Monday night they struck again, breaking into the home page of Yahoo! the Web's most-visited site. In a message that briefly appeared on Yahoo, HAGIS claimed that anyone who had used the search engine during the past month had been the unwitting host to a "logic bomb/worm" which was now "implanted deep within their computer."

Not that many of Yahoo's estimated 17 million users were fazed. The threat, which is, of course, utterly specious, was only viewable on text-only browsers, on a specially formatted version of the homepage, and was forcibly extracted within minutes. But the damage had been done: The world's top search engine had been penetrated, and HAGIS had some major PR for their cause namely, the release of famed hacker Kevin Mitnick, arrested in 1995 on multiple counts of computer- and wire fraud and still awaiting trial. Free him by next Christmas, warned HAGIS, or face logic bombs a' poppin' around the world. The threat may be nonsense, but a slightly more powerful virus known as the media is currently disseminating the hackers' story with all speed.