George W. Bush the Red?
by Declan McCullagh

From Wired News:
12:55 p.m. 19.Oct.1999 PDT

Intruders apparently defaced the official campaign site of Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush early Tuesday, replacing a photo of the Texas governor with a bright red hammer and sickle.

Visitors said the modified Web site, which quoted socialist literature and linked to the International Communist League, was visible around 9:15 a.m. EDT.

Campaign officials spent the morning trying to puzzle out exactly what happened, a task made more difficult by the fact that the Web server automatically copied over the hacked page with the original one.

"We're trying to find out whether we had a visitor. Indications are that we had a visitor," said Greg Sedberry, webmaster.

This isn't the first time a presidential contender has been embarrassed. Vice President Al Gore's campaign site was hacked on 10 April. "Gore was broken into in April. That's the only one I know of in the 2000 race," said B.K. DeLong, curator of the defacement archive at

On Monday, the campaign introduced a newly designed Web site, switching from a single Unix server to multiple computers running Windows NT and Microsoft's Web server.

"I inherited that Unix box when I came on board [in July]," Sedberry said. "I took that box and said we need a more robust setup. It was developed from scratch, and that's where the problems can arise."

The campaign's NT machines are co-located at Austin-based

Illuminati Online

which says it hosts 2,000 customer Web sites.

"The George W. Bush machines are not under our control. They maintain everything on those machines," said an Illuminati Online engineer.

Jeremy Pinnix, webmaster of Nashville-based Anderson Thomas Design, said he noticed the hacked site early Tuesday.

"I called them [the campaign] right away. They asked me to do a screen capture and to email it to them. I haven't heard back, but when I refreshed, it had been fixed," he said.

"Our first battle plan is to figure out exactly what happened," said campaign spokeswoman Mindy Tucker. "This is obviously a problem that anyone who has a Web site faces."

Sedberry said the NT machines are load-balanced, and the master Web server copies files every few minutes to the duplicate ones.

"We're going through the whole system saying, 'Are we sure we locked that down?'" said campaign webmaster Sedberry. "We're finishing it up, double-checking, triple-checking. And we'll see."

According to a screen snapshot, the hacked site quoted the International Communist League's belief that "we must take the Marxist doctrine of proletarian revolution out of the realm of theory and give it reality.",1283,31986,00.shtml

Does Skull and Bones Society come to mind?

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