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Hackers attack Czech news websites in latest media assault

Cyber security analysts work to restore control over computers, lights, and defend a network during a drill at a Department of Homeland Secu
Cyber security analysts work to restore control over computers, lights, and defend a network during a drill at a Department of Homeland Secu

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Hackers attacked some of the Czech Republic's main news websites on Monday, slowing or crashing their homepages in the latest in a series of cyber assaults on media outlets across the world.

Executives from three of the Central European state's most widely read online titles - www.ihned.cz, www.idnes.cz and www.novinky.cz - said their websites had been disrupted.

There was no immediate information on who was responsible. The hackers flooded the websites with digital requests, overwhelming their systems - a common tactic known as a distributed denial of service attack.

Campaign group the Committee to Protect Journalists said last month attacks on media organizations were on the rise and hackers were being hired to target reporters and websites by bodies trying to censor news outlets.

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have both said the cyber attacks targeting them in January originated in China.

"We are receiving great numbers of requests at our servers, which is a typical way to attack," said Lucie Tvaruzkova, the head of ( http://www.ihned.cz ), the online version of business daily Hospodarske Noviny.

Hackers have also targeted dozens of computer systems at government agencies in the Czech Republic, Ireland, Romania and other European counties, exploiting a security flaw in Adobe Systems Inc's ADBE.O software, researchers said last Wednesday.

Romania's security service said it believed another state was behind that attack, dubbed "MiniDuke", that hit its national security institutions as well as NATO. It did not name the suspected state.

(Reporting by Robert Mueller; Writing by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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