Hacker group targets CIA website

An image from LulzSecurity.com.

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The CIA website was down for a time yesterday -- the latest victim in a string of Internet hacks that've targeted a whole host of companies and organizations. To be sure, there are a lot of hackers in the world that would love to claim credit for infiltrating at least the online face of our nation's spy agency. But one group called Lulz Sec is being the loudest about it.

John Moe is Marketplace Tech Report host and joins us now with the latest. Good morning John.

JOHN MOE: Hey Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: How much of a mark are these guys -- these Lulz Sec guys making?

MOE: At the moment they seem to be doing a lot of what are called 'directed denial of service' attacks. Which means, simulating a lot of traffic to a website until the point where it crashes. But some of the other hacks they've have been carrying out on Sony Pictures for instance involve actually getting into the site, stealing some personal information. It is mostly pranksterism right now, but as you know Steve sometimes pranks can end up hurting people.

CHIOTAKIS: Yeah, pranks. Well I'm curious though John, the CIA? Because that sort of concerns me, right?

MOE: Well, it is the CIA. It's the public-facing side of the CIA. And at this point, all we know is that the CIA.gov site went down for a while yesterday. And Lulz Sec did post a message saying, "Tango down, CIA.gov for the Lulz." Now what we don't know for sure is were they the ones doing it? Where they even claiming responsibility with that Tweet? I mean when you're dealing with anonymous faceless organizations of jokesters, it's kind of hard to establish causality sometimes.

CHIOTAKIS: Who are these guys? These jokesters?

MOE: They are a group of hackers, and that's about all we know. What is interesting about them is that they are very noisy. They're very public-facing. They have a website and on the website it plays the Love Boat theme loudly and if you try to mute it, it plays it twice as loud. They have a Twitter feed, they have a request line if there's somebody you think should be hacked, you can call a phone number and leave it on their voice mail.

CHIOTAKIS: Well, you know I mean obviously it's funny, the Love Boat, ha ha, and all of that. But it's not a funny thing when information gets hacked and it seems like we're seeing a lot of this. What's going on here?

MOE: Things are bad Steve. Things are really bad and they seem to be getting worse. And what's happening is a lot of corporate security just hasn't been taken very seriously and companies are seeing what they can get by with, what's good enough. And hackers are curious and hackers are getting better.

CHIOTAKIS: Marketplace Tech Report host John Moe. John thanks.

MOE: Thanks Steve.

About the author

John Moe is the host of Marketplace Tech Report, where he provides an insightful overview of the latest tech news.

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