The fake news story inserted into News International's website (Stilgherrian/CSO Online)
High-profile hacking group LulzSec has taken over the website of UK newspaper The Sun, inserting a fake news story and then redirecting the home page to their own Twitter feed. Other News International sites have also been hacked.
LulzSec announced the attack at 0731 AEST today on Twitter. "thesun.co.uk - what's going on here? Something up with the website? #Correct", they tweeted.
The Sun's home page was redirected to a fake story (pictured) about the death of Rupert Murdoch, proprietor of News Corporation, parent company of News International the company behind The Sun and of the News of the World, the newspaper at the centre of the voicemail hacking scandal.
"Media moguls [sic] body discovered," read the story. "Rupert Murdoch, the controversial media mogul, has reportedly been found dead in his garden, police announce. Murdoch, age 80, has said to have ingested a large quantity of palladium before stumbling into his famous topiary garden."
The fake story was being hosted at www.new-times.co.uk/sun/, another News International website -- a clear indication that other News International websites had been compromised.
A short time later, that website was unreachable. LulzSec claimed that the site had been overloaded. However LulzSec had more than 287,000 Twitter followers at the time of the announcement, so the number of click-throughs could simply have triggered News International's defences against distributed denial of service (DDos) attacks.
"It would appear new-times.co.uk has been hit so hard with redirects that it's now down. That would explain it... we're laughing quite hard," LulzSec tweeted. "So we have a better idea... hold on...", they said.
A short time later The Sun's home page was redirected to LulzSec's Twitter feed.
"This is just as fun on the inside," LulzSec tweeted. "We are battling with The Sun admins right now - I think they are losing. The boat has landed... >:]"
News International issued a statement regarding the hack, publishing it at newsint.co.uk/statement_regarding_the_sun.html -- but that, too, was hacked. The News International website was also redirected to the Twitter feed.
"So News International released this AMAZING statement on The Sun," tweeted LulzSec. "We improved it for them though!"
As this story is filed, all three websites are offline. Meanwhile LulzSec's Twitter follower count has surged to more than 310,000.
"We have owned Sun/News of the World - that story is simply phase 1 - expect the lulz to flow in coming days," LulzSec had tweeted immediately before the attack.
"Arrest us. We dare you. We are the unstoppable hacking generation and you are a wasted old sack of shit, Murdoch. ROW ROW FIGHT THE POWER!," they said shortly after 0900 AEST.
Update 1010 AEST: LulzSec has just claimed that all News International domains are now offline. A quick check by CSO Online shows that the key properties such as the websites for The Sun and The Times, as well as News International's corporate website, are returning domain name system (DNS) errors.
"News International's DNS servers (link web addresses to servers) and all 1,024 web addresses are down", LulzSec tweeted at 1006 AEST.