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Kucinich backer hacks CBS News site

The network's news site is apparently hijacked by a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich on Friday morning.

The CBS News site was apparently hijacked by a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich on Friday morning.

Visitors to the CBSNews.com Web site were presented with a text message and a video promoting the candidacy of the congressman from Cleveland. A CBS representative said the company was "looking into the problem." The network appeared to remedy the situation shortly after it began.

Representatives of the Kucinich campaign said they had been informed of the situation but had no official comment on the attack.

CBSnews.com

The attack appeared to affect only some of the servers supporting CBSNews.com as the message was accessed only occasionally.

During the hacking, the black background--including text and videos--of CBSNews.com was replaced with a blue screen that cited a CBS News poll indicating that 77 percent of all Democrats remain unfamiliar with Kucinich's candidacy. The page read: "Since we cannot expect the media to provide this information I decided to help them out." It also asked site visitors to watch an informational video highlighting the congressman's policies.

Hackers target high-profile Web sites for numerous reasons, including to promote their beliefs. The most notable spate of recent hackings revolves around the ongoing battle between the Recording Industry Association of America and the file-sharing community, which the RIAA has targeted in the name of protecting copyrighted works.

In addition to repeatedly hijacking the RIAA's site, hackers have targeted the Web sites of musicians backing the RIAA's efforts, including Madonna's.

An industry expert said the number of defacement attacks launched at high-profile Web sites such as CBSNews.com grows nearly every day. Pete Allor, an analyst in the X-Force research arm of security software vendor Internet Security Systems, estimated that some 547 defacement attacks were launched on Thursday and called that figure average.

"There are between 150 and 350 new vulnerabilities found in the average Web site each month, so it becomes harder to protect against these sort of attacks all the time," Allor said.

Allor said that most weaknesses are derived from openings in software applications and cited software patch management as the top priority among most companies trying to protect their Web sites. He said the proliferation of multiple Web server architectures has also made it harder to protect potential vulnerabilities from hackers.

"High-profile sites are constantly being scanned by malicious hackers," said Allor. "The key for site operators is having a remediation plan in place, so that any attacks that do occur can be addressed both during, and after, the fact to prevent future problems."