Barack Obama Website Hacked to Send Visitors to Hillary Clinton’s Site

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Ah, the audacity of hopeless childish pranks. The long and drawn-out contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to seek the Democratic nomination has for the last few weeks descended into trench warfare. The slinging of barbs and arrows is carried out on every media, including online, where an enterprising Clinton supporter recently hacked the Obama web site; visitors to the community blogs section were redirected to the Clinton web site.

The self-confessed culprit of these shenanigans, “Mox”, from Liverpool, IL, used to his advantage the lax coding of the Obama site developers, a laxity that permitted his user-injected Javascript to be executed. It’s a little like walking around a bookstore, switching hardback dustcovers; childish, time-consuming and ultimately a frustration and annoyance for victims. While this time it was merely a foolish prank, these cross-site scripting vulnerabilities can leave users open to cyber-attack from phishers and virus planters. All site developers should be considering safety and security as first order design objectives when putting together web site requirements; that the Obama site developers were not, when anyone with two functioning neurons would predict that a high-volume, high-visibility site in a potentially contentious political battle to seek the presidency would very likely be the subject of attack at some time.

Luckily, for those of you who use Firefox and Firefox-based browsers to view the web, you have a robust and flexible defense against these insecurities; the Noscript extension. This provides a powerful protection against cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, and no Firefox user should be without it.

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