UNITED NATIONS -- Computer hackers posted an anti-war message on the UN's official website, claiming that US and Israeli policies in the Middle East were taking innocent lives, the United Nations said.
The first attack on a UN Web page reserved for statements from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon occurred at about 9 a.m. Sunday morning, UN spokeswoman Michele Montas said. The Web site of the UN Department of Public Information was then attacked as was the UN Cyberschoolbus site for teachers and students and the UN Economic and Social Council's site.
"We are very concerned that this happened," Montas said. "It lasted a few minutes, but we managed to get them off and change that. We also had to change our archives and rebuild the whole site."
The hackers, who identified themselves as kerem125, MOsted, and Gsy, left a message criticizing US and Israeli policy in the Middle East and saying "Peace for ever No war."
The break-in is under investigation, and the Department of Public Information and the Information Technology Security Division are working to prevent future cyber attacks, she said.
Montas said no new information was posted on the UN website on Monday while computer experts were assessing the system.
Did the United Nations look at the attack as a nasty prank or a form of cyberterrorism?
"I don't know," Montas said. "I think it was seen more as a prank."
She said hackers using the same names have invaded a number of other sites in recent months.
When a reporter mentioned online criticism that the UN's website used old technology that was easy to penetrate, Montas replied, "Like the building, we are improving slowly, and it takes some time."
In December, the UN General Assembly gave a green light to start renovating the 39-story glass-and-steel building, which has not seen a major overhaul in its 55-year existence and now violates safety and fire codes.