Hacking group LulzSec has returned to the news with a tabloid splash, launching a string of humiliating attacks on News Corporation including redirecting the homepage of The Sun newspaper to a bogus story about proprietor Rupert Murdoch’s suicide.
The group, which has been quiet in recent weeks, announced the attack on its Twitter feed with the message, "We have owned Sun/News of the World."
"Murdoch, aged 80, has said to have ingested a large quantity of palladium before stumbling into his famous topiary garden late last night, passing out in the early hours of the morning," read the opening sentence of the fake story, seen by visitors to the site for a period of up to an hour.
The Sun newspaper’s online site admins later disconnected the redirect from internal web page, newtimes.co.uk/sun, normally used for announcements, and took the page down. The Sun newspaper redirect to the fake suicide story was also disconnected at which point the page briefly pointed to LulzSec’s Twitter homepage.
Not content with two redirect attacks, LulzSec then also redirected a statement about the attacks by News International to its Twitter page as well, compounding the trail of embarrassment.
LulzSec later claimed it had interfered with the DNS entries for News International websites, stopping readers accessing them.
“News International's DNS servers and all 1,024 web addresses are down,” read a tweet. Clearly, the attackers anticipated the response of the News International admins, piling new redirects on to them in a planned way.
News International is currently mired in huge legal and political controversy over claims that it routinely accessed the voicemail of thousands of prominent UK citizens over many years, publishing stories derived from that information.
Senior employees have resigned, the company has had to abandon a proposed buyout of shares in satellite broadcaster BSkyB, and the affair could even threaten the future of James Murdoch, chairman of News International owner, News Corporation.
LulzSec made its name after a string of high-profile attacks, most notably on the homepage of the CIA and Sony.