Hackers strike Large Hadron Collider website

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According to media reports, a website associated with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) atom-smashing experiment at CERN has been compromised by computer hackers.

A group of hackers called the "GST" or "Greek Security Team" has claimed responsibility for the attack, and posted a lengthy message on the site to prove that they had managed to breach computer security.

Part of a message left by the Greek Security Team on the hacked LHC website. Click for a larger version

The hackers signed off their message with the words: "We are 2600 - dont mess with us."

According to reports, as boffins were preparing to turn the experiment on Wednesday, hackers had already begun uploading unauthorised files to the website.

With the huge amount of interest worldwide in the LHC the thought that hackers were able to compromise and change data on a website is highly disturbing. Theoretically, hackers could have planted malicious code which could have stolen identities or installed malware onto the computers of millions of web visitors.

Fortunately, there's no evidence, as far as we can ascertain at the moment, that the Greek Security Team planted a err.. Trojan Horse. Well, Greeks have some history of doing that y'see.. :-)

Scientists at the world's largest particle physics laboratory appear to have disconnected the affected website (cmsmon.cern.ch) from the intenet until they are confident any remaining security problems have been fixed.

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Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.