Hackers; please don't deface Middle East web sites

Cyberangels, an offshoot of the Guardian Angels groups that patrol city neighborhoods to prevent crime, has launched an effort to protect the Internet from hackers angry at Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

Now the group has produced a series of televised public service ads, set to begin airing next week, aimed at convincing computer hackers to stop defacing Web sites they find objectionable. In addition to being illegal, Cyberangels says such activity is unproductive and unethical, amounting to vandalism.

"Some groups, trying to lash out or be patriotic or just angry, have been defacing Middle Eastern Web sites without realizing that only hurts the Internet," Parry Aftab, executive director of Cyberangels said on Thursday.

Shortly after the attacks, some hackers managed to take the Presidential Palace of Afghanistan offline. Other Web sites related to Afghanistan's Taliban government, which has so far refused to hand bin Laden over to the authorities, were plastered with mock "Wanted" posters of the Saudi exile.

The group's Web site promotes several ways for computer users to respond to the attacks, including helping families search for information about loved ones who remain missing or spreading scam alerts about phony charities seeking donations. The group also is looking for computer experts to help with its own technical needs.

News source: Reuters

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