When visitors hit Fox Online'sWeb site early today, they didn't find cute pictures of Party of Five and Beverly Hills 90210's cast members.
Instead, an apparent hack redirected visitors from Fox's main site to an alternate page containing a strange message in reference to the popular science-fiction show The X-Files. Those behind the maneuver also made the Fox 20th Century logo point to rival NBC's home page.
||Hackers send Fox visitors to a cryptic X-Files message.|
"Sorry Scully I can't give you my heart cause it belongs to the beautiful, wonderful Heike and NOTHING can change it!" was plastered across the top of the site in red letters. "Heike" is a popular Scandinavian and German name.
At the bottom of the page near a link back to the real "fox.com" site was the statement: "Looking for me? Look at your ass! Bastard!"
It is unclear how long "fox.com" pointed to the alternate page, but as of 10 a.m. PT, both sites were inaccessible. However, by around 11:45 a.m., Fox's site appeared fully restored.
"We're still investigating," Steven Feldstein, vice president of communications for Fox Home Entertainment, said today about the hack. "It is unfortunate that one person, or persons, has to ruin a really terrific Web site experience for everyone out there surfing. Why it was done is completely beyond me."
But Netizens had their own conspiracy theories.
Some say the culprits are the same crew who hacked 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 its logo. The defaced Coke home page contained a picture of a Coke bottle that read "ADM Crew."
Others said the hack was revenge for any X-Files fan site creators out there who may have been threatened by Fox's copyright lawyers. Although X-Files' creator Chris Carter has reportedly said he supports the resurrection of unofficial sites, many Hollywood studios have cracked down on sites that use their copyrighted photos, video clips, or logos without permission.
For example, last year Viacom--the parent company of Paramount, which produces Star Trek--sent out cease-and-desist letters to some Trekkies telling them to stop using copyrighted materials from the show on their home pages. Sony also vigorously went after online groupies of the band Oasis.
Feldstein wouldn't elaborate on potential conflicts with fans or whether legal action would be taken if the hackers were caught. "The X-Files is very popular among the computer crowd," he added. "We will continue to take many safeguards to protect our assets."
This is the second time this week that a well-known company's site has been hacked. On Tuesday, Yahoo, the world's most popular Web site by some accounts, was cracked by people who claimed that anyone who visited the site last month was infected with a "logic bomb/worm."
The hackers claimed the bomb would go off on Christmas Day, "wreaking havoc upon the entire planet's networks," unless famed hacker Kevin Mitnick was released from jail. Computer experts doubted the validity of the hackers' threat.
In addition, Yahoo said only a few thousand people spotted the hacked page while it was up for a few minutes. The Net directory would not say how its security system was compromised.