August 28, 2008, 9:54 AM — A 'hacktivist' has hijacked numerous Dutch sites in retaliation for the anti-Islamic short film "Fitna" which was made and released earlier this year by the Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders.
Over the last six weeks an activist hacker by the name of 'nEt^DeViL' has hacked many Dutch Web sites and posted ideological statements on their home pages. Such an attack is known as a website defacement.
The hacked sites feature an embedded YouTube video dubbed "Anti-Fitna", which the hacker states is "[a] Response to the Fitna Movie by 'Geert Wilders' Cow !" "This hax0ring is to defend ISLAM - The Religion of [ Abraham, Moses, Jesus & Muhammad ( Peace Be Upon Them All ) ] that Insulted by a Cow ! from Netherlands !"
Zone-H.org, a website that tracks website defacement attacks worldwide, has documented thousands of compromised websites over the last months. Zone-H reports that 'nEt^DeViL' has hacked 18,157 websites as of Thursday, August 28.
From July 15 on, the hacker specifically targeted sites in The Netherlands, the home country of politician Geert Wilders. A number have since been restored, but numerous others still feature the forcefully injected ideological messages.
Arnout Veenman of the Dutch hosting providers association ISPConnect, speculates that the hacker exploited a recently published vulnerability in the Joomla content management system (cms). On August 14 the Joomla.org website was defaced after it failed to properly install a security patch. "A lot of the compromised Web sites run on Joomla, so that is a likely attack vector", Veenman told Webwereld, and IDG affiliate. "Web site owners should urgently update their CMS system."
Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch political party PVV an member of parliament, caused international uproar last March when he posted a video montage criticizing Islam. The video was posted on LiveLeak.com and denounced allegedly violent and warmongering passages in the Koran. The video led to political outrage and street protests in the Middle East.
The controversy surrounding the film is reminiscent of the uproar over cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammed with a bomb in his turban in a Danish newspaper in 2006. This event also triggered a mass defacement attack on Danish Web sites. At that time, several hundred sites were compromised.