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Internet

Yahoo suffers short hack attack

Crackers briefly invade the popular search directory and threaten massive destruction of the world's computer systems.

    Crackers last night broke into Yahoo, the world's most popular Web site by some accounts, and threatened massive destruction of the world's computer systems if their demands were not met.

    But other than maybe a few thousand people seeing the hacked page for a few minutes, Yahoo's site was left untouched and the world's computer systems are safe for now--at least when it comes to this crack, said Yahoo spokeswoman Diane Hunt.

    Someone broke into Yahoo around 7 p.m. PT. "We have a monitoring system in place that immediately notified us that this had happened," Hunt said. Yahoo took immediate action and by 7:15 p.m., had restored the pages. She said no files were destroyed and no outside computers were invaded.

    She would not say how Yahoo's security system was penetrated for security reasons, but she added that only a few thousand people were affected.

    Most Netizens could not see the hack at any time because it was only visible to people using browsers that do not support frames. Anyone using Netscape 2.0 or higher or Internet Explorer browsers could not see the text, she said.

    Only those using very old Netscape browsers or others, such as Lynx, to view the Web, could see the posted message, Hunt said.

    Some Netizens were concerned about the content, said Hunt, who added that Yahoo received a few calls in response.

    The page says that anyone who has visited Yahoo in the last month (Yahoo says it has 26 million unique users per month) was infected with a "logic bomb/worm," a scenario that is virtually impossible. But a lot of impossible scenarios, such as threats about certain email messages destroying computer systems, make their way around the Net.

    The bomb will detonate on Christmas day, the page says, "wreaking havoc upon the entire planet's networks." Of course, it then offers a solution: release hacker Kevin Mitnick from jail and the antidote program "resting somewhere on a computer in the southern hemisphere" will be released.

    Hunt emphasized that no one's personal computer was invaded and the virus is a hoax.