Lebanon News

Lebanese hacker targets Damascus University

BEIRUT: A Lebanese hacker has targeted the website of Damascus University and posted information and a message saying more government and Syrian education websites will be hacked.

On Sunday afternoon, the hacker wrote on Twitter under the handle idahc_hacker, “Damascusuniversity.edu.sy OWNED,” with a link to a website where he had posted information from the university’s website.

“A message for the dictator Bashar Assad: we will hack many other gov.sy and edu.sy,” he wrote on http://pastebin.com/mhumVcd7.

The usability of the Damascus University website did not appear to be directly affected by the attack.

The hacker, who says he is an 18-year-old computer science student and describes himself as a “Lebanese gray hat hacker” on his Twitter biography, is one of several hackers who have recently targeted Sony in a high-profile campaign, along with the group Anonymous, and the now-disbanded LulzSec group.

The term “gray hat” is used to indicate a hacker who hacks without malicious intent, instead intending to, for instance, highlight a company’s security problems. In a recent interview with Forbes magazine, Idahc said he acted for “moral reasons” during his hacking, and his attacks were intended as a way to “help Sony” with their security vulnerabilities.

The message to Assad therefore marks a slightly more menacing turn for the young hacker, who has expressed disapproval of the work of LulzSec and Anonymous, who have revealed sensitive information of the companies they hack and, in LulzSec’s case, targeted the FBI.

Azzam Mourad, an assistant professor of computer science at Lebanese American University said the type of hack Idahc used could not be used to modify websites.

“It’s really just a message,” Mourad said. “It’s a dumping of information.”

However, he added, it was possible that such methods could be used to damage or to reveal sensitive information should Idahc go on to attack government websites. “At later periods, maybe he could attack the information. If he kept trying,” he said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 11, 2011, on page 3.

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