NSI Falls Prey to Hackers

Web sites operated by Network Solutions Inc. were hit by hackers Friday who redirected visitors to one of the company’s competitors.

Starting before noon Eastern time, NSI officials discovered hackers were automatically sending its site visitors to the the Internet Council of Registrars — or CORE — as well as the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN is the new non-profit organization that oversees the Internet’s address system.

After it discovered the hack, CORE placed a message on its Web site notifying visitors of the hack which also listed the correct IP address for Network Solutions’ site. CORE also posted a brief statement saying it strongly condemned the moves and is looking into legal action.

ICANN officials said there had been no indications that the hackers had affected the root server that it administers. One of 13, ICANN’s root server contains the database that allows domain names to be translated into IP numbers so that traffic can be properly routed.

NSI released a statement Friday afternoon confirming a hack had occurred and said the FBI had been called into investigate. NSI is speculating that SoftAware, an Internet service provider based in the same California building as ICANN, was where the hack originated.

In April, ICANN named five testbed registers which included CORE, America Online Inc., France Telecom/Oleane, Melbourne IT and register.com. They were the first to begin registering domain names and testing the new shared registration system developed to allow multiple competitors to handle the process. In addition, 29 companies have been accredited to register domain names once the system’s test is complete.

ICANN takes over the system from NSI which was granted an exclusive government contract to manage the domain system in 1993.

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