Hackers planning website 'massacre'



The US government and private technology experts say hackers plan to attack thousands of websites on Sunday.

It is said to be a loosely co-ordinated "contest" that could disrupt internet traffic.

Organisers established a Web site, defacers-challenge.com, listing in broken English the rules for hackers taking part.

The Web site appeared to operate out of California.

The Department of Homeland Security said it was aware of the hackers' plans but did not expect to issue any formal public warnings.

Security has been ordered to be tightened at federal sites.

"We emphasise that all website administrators should ensure that their sites are not vulnerable," said Peter Allor of Internet Security Systems.

The Office of Cyber-Security and Critical Infrastructure Co-ordination warned Internet providers and other organisations that the goal of the hackers was to vandalise 6,000 Web sites in six hours.

New York officials urged companies to change default computer passwords, begin monitoring Web site activities more aggressively, remove unnecessary functions from server computers and apply the latest software repairs from vendors such as Microsoft Corp.