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UNICEF site hacked

Hackers break into the nonprofit's site and post a mock threat to children if famed hacker Kevin Mitnick is not released from prison.

Unknown culprits invaded the home page of the United Nation's Children Fund (UNICEF) last night, threatening a "holocaust" if famed hacker Kevin Mitnick is not released from prison.

The hack is reminiscent of a break-in suffered by Yahoo last month in which, for a few moments, hackers were able to post on the site a similar message calling for Mitnick's release. Mitnick is in a federal penitentiary for a series of high-tech crimes.

Those who cracked UNICEF's site intertwined a jargon-filled message with the children's rights organization's information about the starvation and exploitation of children around the world. They also posted photographs of women in bathing suits. The page was titled "Starvin' for Kevin."

"Drunkz Against Madd Mothers [DAMM] and UNICEF have formed a coalition to put an end to the mistreatment of Kevin Mitnick," stated the translated note. "After all, Kevin is just a big kid, and that's what UNICEF is all about, helping the children."

If Mitnick is not released by Groundhog Day (February 2), the hackers said, 100 children per day would be eaten by 20 "starving super-models." The threat is even more far-fetched than the warning posted on Yahoo.

The culprits who broke into Yahoo said the site's recent visitors had been infected with "logic bomb/worm" that would detonate on Christmas Day, "wreaking havoc upon the entire planet's networks." The bomb never went off--which was no surprise to computer experts.

But the UNICEF site's security was compromised much longer than that of Yahoo, as the nonprofit organization can't monitor its site around the clock. Some Net users told NEWS.COM they stumbled upon the hack last night. The organization said today that it discovered the altered home page around 4 a.m., and fully restored the site by 8:30 a.m. today.

"We don't know what the message means," said UNICEF's technical support person, who requested not to be named. "We're still investigating [how it was done]."

In another apparent serial hack, the Fox Online Web site was also hit last month. For a couple of hours, the site contained a cryptic message in reference to the network's popular science-fiction show The X-Files. In addition, the Fox 20th Century logo pointed to rival NBC's home page.

Net users were quick to theorize that Fox was hacked by the same crew that altered the Coca Cola site in September. In both cases, the hackers have left the call letters "ADM." On the Fox site, the letters were embedded in the network's logo. The defaced Coke home page contained a picture of a Coke bottle that read "ADM Crew."