Mar. 25, 2003. 07:07 PM
Hackers target Al-Jazeera's site
NEW YORK (AP) - Hackers attacked the Web site of the Arab satellite television network Al-Jazeera today, rendering it intermittently unavailable, the site's host said.
The newly launched English-language page, which went live Monday and posted images of the corpses of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, was hardest hit in a bombardment of data packets known as a denial-of-service attack.
Ayman Arrashid, Internet system administrator at the Horizons Media and Information Services, the site's Web host, said the attack began this morning.
Nabil Hegazi, assistant to the managing editor of the English Web site, denied that an attack was the reason the site was unavailable. He said it was difficult to access because traffic was almost four times more than expected.
The Web host is based in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. The servers that host the Al-Jazeera site are in France and the United States. Arrashid said he could not determine the attack's origin, but only the U.S. servers were affected, leading him to suspect that the attackers were in the United States.
Security consultant Steve Manzuik at Entrench Technologies Inc. in Calgary said a study of Internet addresses related to Al-Jazeera's U.S. servers pointed to a technical problem other than an attack.
"If anything, I think they have other issues," he said.
Al-Jazeera's French servers were unavailable, however, in a way that did not exclude the possibility they were under attack, Manzuik said.
Arrashid said technicians were working to thwart the attack, but could not estimate when the site would be fully available again.
In denial-of-service attacks, hackers normally send a deluge of false requests to Web servers, overloading them and making them unavailable to surfers.
Al-Jazeera, also based in Qatar, is an unusually independent and powerful voice in the Arab world whose broadcasts of U.S. prisoners and war dead has angered many Americans.
Earlier, Al-Jazeera said two reporters had their credentials revoked by the New York Stock Exchange because of the network's coverage of the war. The exchange said the decision was prompted by space constraints.
Al-Jazeera's English site was unavailable today from four out of five locations in the United States, said Roopak Patel, a senior analyst at Keynote Systems Inc., a San Mateo, Calif., company that tracks Web performance.
He said the Arabic site had starting Sunday experienced periods of very poor availability - which may have been caused by hackers, Patel said.