A USF Academic Computing Web site was vandalized some time Tuesday night.
The site, which serves as a support site for university e-mail accounts, was replaced with Japanese animation, a message written in Portuguese and an e-mail contact.
The self-proclaimed hacker identified himself as Edson Freire, a 16-year-old Brazilian, via an e-mail to The Oracle Tuesday night.
After a request was sent by e-mail for an interview with The Oracle, Freire responded, stating that “he defaced USF.”
Freire provided his contact name via Web chat, however, he could not be contacted by Oracle reporters directly.
Senior Bisher Tarabishy said he stumbled upon the vandalized site earlier in the evening and contacted Freire on the Internet.
Freire said in a chat room conversation conducted by Tarabishy that he hacked into the Academic Computing Web site to express his opinion against a possible strike against Iraq. Freire said other sites he has vandalized include the University of Georgia, University of Newcastle and a Colombian university.
The vandalism restricted access to student e-mail accounts and MyUSF.edu, as Freire sent a message in Portuguese that the United States has poor security systems, according to a language translation tool on AltaVista.com. In addition, a message in English stated that Brazil is the best country for hacking into computers.
Victor Wolski, a student technology representative, was caught by surprise when he logged on to the site. Because hackers broke into the system after university business hours, Wolski said it may not be restored until early Wednesday.
The vandalism comes just after an attack on the Internet Monday and Tuesday, which was characterized as the largest ever by key officials in “key backbone organizations,” The Washington Post reported late Tuesday.
Hackers attacked 13 root servers that directly impact virtually all Internet communications.
The Post reported, however, most Internet users were unaffected by the attack, which lasted about an hour.
President George W. Bush last month proposed an outline of concerns with Internet security. According to an Associated Press report, the outline expressed needs for improvement on Internet systems associated with universities, government agencies and corporations.
However, Wolski said the motive for breaking into the Academic Computing Web site probably wasn’t to steal any personal information.
“They’re going to have to figure out how this person did it and hopefully fix it soon,” Wolski said. “It depends on what was done to the system.”
Wolski said it appears that the person used the site to voice an opinion, which is common with most hackers.
“It’s just like bragging rights,” Wolski said. “They usually aren’t out to steal anything. Whoever these people are, they do it for fun. They find holes in the system, and they get in there.”
Tarabishy said he discovered there was something wrong with the Web site when he tried to access Blackboard, which is a Web page students use to complete course work and is linked to the Academic Computing page.