AER website hacked, victim of false alarm

The Action for Economic Reforms  website was recently hacked. For those who searched the AER website through Google, they found this disturbing note on the Google page: “This site may harm your computer.”

This, however, was a false alarm.  Although the AER’s webhost found traces of a hacking attempt, as malicious codes were inserted in some of the AER’s files, it said that entering the AER site did not cause any  harm to the computer.

The Google  removed the warning after a few days, after it was able to confirm that the AER site was safe.

The tech support of aer.ph’s webhost immediately beefed up the security of the website.  The aer.ph website has also been moved to a new and more secure server. The transfer to a more secure server was completed on 13 July 2007.

The hacking could have been a random event.  But according to the AER’s external technical support, given the circumstances of the hacking, it was more likely that the hacking attempt deliberately targeted AER.  Only Google, among the different search engines, came out with the warning.  Obviously, the objective of the hacking attempt was to prevent or discourage
internet users from entering the AER site.

A few observes who heard of the hacking attempt, including one who was a victim himself, believed that the attack was politically motivated.  Some thought that it might be related to AER’s critical stance on the controversial National Broadband Network.  The hacking attempt happened immediately after a forum it organized, wherein participants lambasted the
government deal with the ZTE Corporation in setting up the broadband network.  It was in this forum that the fantastic story came out—that the contract between the Philippine and Chinese governments was lost.

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