Brazilian hacking group “Simiens Crew” requested the legalization of marijuana and left Portuguese “kisses” in place of the usual blue and gold College homepage on Feb. 27.
“Our objective is to defend the population and to face the same government that let us need to take off pages international to obtain this,” “Matheus Silva” wrote in broken English in an email message from email@example.com, the address in the tag of many of Simiens defacements. “Then if not to advance, at least we made our part and we are not seated seeing TV waiting something of better happening.”
The intruder accessed the homepage through a student’s personal College Web site (www.tcnj.edu/~student’s last name). The student was letting outsiders upload files to the Web site using the programming language called PHP, which was coded incorrectly on the site.
The hacking group uploaded files onto the student’s Web page, took over the student’s account and broke into the main Web server.
“That’s why good secure passwords are important,” Craig Blaha, associate director for Information Policy, Security and Web Development, said. He said that in addition to breaking PHP scripts, hackers may get in by figuring out passwords. Passwords should be long, a mixture of letters and characters, changed every three months and unshared with friends, he said.
System administrator Shawn Sivy restored the original page and recorded the intruder’s steps as it attempted to access the main Web site again. He then updated the software to block out the hacker.
The whole process, which began at 10:12 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, took a half hour. Sivy restarted the homepage Monday morning.
Information Technology locked out the student’s account and shut down the student’s Web site, Sivy said.
The hackers looked around on the network and uploaded html pages, which Information Technology simply deleted, but were unable to access other individual students’ accounts.
The main site denies access to other students’ accounts from the homepage.
The group takes advantage of vulnerable PHP and Advanced Web Statistics (AWStats) codes on College, personal, commercial, activist, and other Web sites in the United States, Korea, Brazil and around the world. Despite the problem, the College is still offering PHP to students.
“It’s a good learning tool,” Blaha said. “We all talked about it and decided it’s still worth offering.”
To be prosecuted, hackers have to rack up losses in Web server’s budgets to gain Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) attention. For the College, however, the repair only cost Sivy’s time, which the College pays for anyway.
Simiens is apparently not making any money out of the hacking.
“People who get paid – you usually don’t know they’re there,” Blaha said. Paid hackers are advertisers or blackmailers, he said, and would not have left their tag on the site.
“We do not receive money from nobody, we are making this for the Brazilian population that is our source of inspiration today and always,” Silva wrote.
Simiens’ message on the College homepage was “Simiens -Legalize Ja -beijos pras minas de New Jersy.” Translated using world.altavista.com and assuming the hacker meant to spell “New Jersey” and “paras,” the phrase means “Simiens -Legalize Ja -kisses you stop mines of New Jersey.”
“The “Legalize j?” here in Brazil means the legalization of marijuana,” Silva wrote. “It is as to write, ‘IT LEGALIZES NOW.'”
Rated zone-h.org’s seventh “Top attacker,” 283 newly defaced Web sites with Simiens’ signature appeared in the Web site’s digital attacks archive in just two hours Sunday morning, midnight to 2 a.m.
A Google search of “Simiens” yields 30,300 results. A few advertise vacations to Ethiopia’s volcano-formed Simiens mountain chain and the French book “Perpetual Decline of the Simiens” by Gilbert Bow?, but most of the results are illustrations from over 33,000 Web site defacements signed by Simiens.
“Because simiens means ‘homosapiens,’ then we are giving an idea of that if Brazil to continue thus, we go to come back to the planet of the monkeys,” Silva wrote.
The hackers leave messages about legalizing marijuana and a cease to war and hunger.
A common Simiens message is “Simiens Crew 2005, Enquanto Houver Fome Morte Guerra Simiens Existera,” which translates to, “As long as there is hunger death and war Simiens exists.”
In Rio de Janeiro and other places in Brazil, illegal drug traffickers clash with police in a drug war that has erupted in violence and movements to decriminalize drug users.
“The war of drugs of Rio De Janeiro is horrible … all day more than dies 5 people in Rio De Janeiro because of the drugs,” Silva wrote, apologizing for his poor English. “The people do not leave house more than when hours of the night for the reason pass of the 9:00 that can be deceased for dealers.”