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Vulnerabilities / Threats

Comcast Outage Traced to Teenage Hackers

DNS attack left service provider down for five hours

The hackers responsible for Wednesday's attack on Comcast say they were angry with the company, and "wanted to take them out," according to a news report.

Comcast, one of the largest Internet service providers in the U.S., found that its primary Website, Comcast.net, had been defaced at around 11 p.m. on Wednesday. The hackers had redirected the traffic to another Web server, replacing some of the site's content with their own greeting.

Comcast replaced the greeting with an "under construction" message in the wee hours of Thursday morning, as the hackers led Comcast technicians on a merry chase, redirecting traffic to multiple hosts for several hours. Comcast's users were unable to access their email via the site for as long as 12 hours.

Yesterday, the two teenage attackers granted an interview to Kevin Poulsen, a well-known hacker who now writes for Wired magazine. In the interview, the two hackers said they tried to warn Comcast about the vulnerability, but a Comcast engineer scoffed at them, inciting the angry exploit.

"If he wasn't such a prick, he could have avoided all of that," says 19-year-old "EBK," who perpetrated the attack along with his 18-year-old compatriot, who goes by the handle of "Defiant." "I wasn't even really thinking. Plus, I'm just so mad at Comcast."

The report indicates that the teenagers found a vulnerability in Comcast's domain management console at Network Solutions, which also maintains domain names and administration for many other sites. A Network Solutions spokesperson denied the report, stating that "we now know that it was nothing on our end."

The hackers expect to be found and arrested, according to the report.

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Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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