CIA Website Allegedly Hacked

The mischief keeps coming from hacking collective LulzSec, but Wednesday's attack might be its biggest and most serious yet: The goofy hackers with the logo reminiscent of Mr. Peanut claimed it took down the Central Intelligence Agency's Web site Wednesday. (Temporarily, at least: though at 6:50 p.m. we couldn't load the CIA's site, as of 7:20 p.m. it was back, though a bit sluggish.)

They announced via Twitter shortly before 6 p.m. that cia.gov had been taken down, "Tango down ... for the lulz," and adding later, "Come for the DDoS, stay for the h4x." DDoS stands for distributed denial-of-service attack, a form of hack that involves overwhelming a target's servers with traffic. Doing something "for the lulz" means doing it for "for the laughs," or just for the sake of doing it.

The group has been "fed-baiting" of late, as Andy Greenberg puts it, most recently claiming a data breach of the U.S. Senate's site and previously exposing login data from a security firm affiliated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But targeting the CIA's site would be the group's most significant attack on a government site. The Pentagon has recently declared cyber-attacks to be acts of war. But the group's attitude seems clear from the language in their Senate data dump: "Is this an act of war, gentlemen? Problem?" It probably is a problem now.