It’s been a busy week for computer hackers.
A team of system crackers identifying themselves as “Group XP” have taken control of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s Web site. The compromised home page now features a YouTube video of American comedian Bill Maher satirizing the powerful Iraqi Shi’a cleric and influential post-invasion political leader.
The defaced site could well be a guerrilla marketing stunt to promote Maher’s new mockumentary “Religulous,” a scathing dissertation on faith that opens in theaters Oct. 3.
Other site hackers may not be laughing all the way to the bank.
Earlier this week members of 4Chan.org, a notorious denizen of Internet culture mavens, Japanese manga fans and a hacker collective known as “Anonymous,” accessed Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s private Yahoo e-mail account. The group posted screenshots of both personal emails and those that appear to be related to official state business. Critics contest that the Alaska governor uses the account to thwart public records law, in similar fashion to the Bush Administration’s e-mail scandal that diverted thousands of communiqués by Karl Rove and others in the White House from required presidential document archives and likely violated a law barring federal employees from engaging in political activities while on-the-clock.
The FBI and Secret Service are investigating the Palin e-mail incident.
Computer chaos hit closer to home Wednesday when Rep. Marilyn Musgrave’s campaign Web site was disabled by a computer prankster who discovered a huge security breach — evidentially registered users were erroneously given administrative access to the site’s inner workings. No word yet on whether the Musgrave camp will pursue criminal charges.
h/t Rock the Boat