MSNBC Sports Hacked

Dennis Faas's picture

Gotta get your Milwaukee Bucks score every morning? Apparently, so do hackers. MSNBC Sports' web page was recently the victim of a major hack attack, compromising more than 26,000 pages. It's set off alarm bells for legitimate web sites, and highlights a new trend being forged by the web's most elite hackers.

The MSNBC attack was reported this past Tuesday by San Diego-based Websense Inc. The security company has been tracking the exploit for about a month, stumbling upon the MSNBC invasion while performing one of their many web scans. Other major sites that appear to be hit include,, and (oh, no! Not George Washington!). (Source:

One group is being pinpointed as the culprits behind this rather impressive attack. Their scam isn't anything new; the hackers use the web pages to redirect traffic to a malicious javascript code hosted by increasingly infamous providers Intercage and the Russian Business Network. According to Websense's Stephan Chenette, both of these providers are gaining an international reputation for hosting malware.

Why are these sites being hit, and hit hard?

According to Chenette, it has something to do with their search power. "I'm labeling this attack as a search engine input optimization attack," he said. The search engine optimization techniques used by these sites -- which are meant to bring in as much traffic as possible -- are making them vulnerable to an input validation attack. (Source:

MSNBC maintains that they were able to secure the breach within minutes of hearing their popular sports page had been compromised.

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