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Online vandals smoke New York Times site

A duo responsible for more than a dozen Web defacements chalked up another Thursday night--this time on a page within The New York Times site.

A Web-defacing duo calling themselves Sm0ked Crew Thursday night added a page within The New York Times site to their growing list.

"Well?I'm sorry to say but you just got sm0ked by Splurge," read part of the page that replaced the Times stock quote service. "Don't be scared though, everything will be all right, first fire your current security advisor."

A vandal named "Splurge" is one of two members of Sm0ked Crew.

The Times stock quote page was still unavailable as of 10:30 a.m. PST Friday. An hour later, it was working again. The New York Times Co. did not return calls for comment.

As previously reported, this month the online vandals have defaced more than a dozen sites run by major companies, including those owned by Intel, Compaq Computer, Hewlett-Packard, Disney's Go.com and CompUSA, according to Web defacement tracker and security site Attrition.org. A second Intel server fell prey to the vandals Thursday as well.

In almost every case, the actual home page was not defaced. Instead, the vandals targeted less-trafficked portions of the sites, including HP's e-learning site; a Compaq Europe, Middle East and Africa page; Gateway's employment page; and one of AltaVista's shopping sites.

Compaq Asia-Pacific spokesman Choy Boon Yew confirmed that the defaced site belonged to its EMEA business unit.

"Our corporate office has identified and isolated the site...Further investigations are being carried out. From our initial understanding, this is an extremely minor site. We have checked all our major sites, and they are in perfect condition," Choy said via e-mail.

AltaVista spokeswoman Tracy Roberts acknowledged that one of the company's sites had been hacked but did not provide further details.

Apart from the hackings, the defaced HP, Compaq, AltaVista and Intel sites had another thing in common--the operating system in question was Windows NT and the Web server IIS/4.0.

In addition to hacking the already mentioned sites, Sm0ked Crew has defaced others this month, according to Attrition.org. They include those belonging to Louisiana State University Medical Center, the Taipei city government in Taiwan, Lycos, Taiwan's Board of Foreign Trade and the University of South Florida.

In addition, The-Rev, the other member of Sm0ked Crew, claimed credit for defacing the Metropolitan State College of Denver's site and AnandTech.com.

CNET Singapore's Fran Foo and Nawaz Marican contributed to this report.