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Reports | Sunday Defacement Contest
{3rd Jul 2003}
The domain name defacers-challenge.com was officially registered on June 21st 2003.  Shortly thereafter it began hosting a 3 page site containing details of a "Defacement challenge".  The goal of this challenge being to deface as many sites as possible within a 6 hour period on the morning of Sunday 6th July, with the contest being judged on the statistics of Zone-H.

Ordinarily defacers-challenge.com would likely just have been put down as a joke by many, which it may initially have been intended as, however statistics showing an increase in scanning activity, combined with a decrease in actual defacements prompted many security companies to issue advisories to their clients.  Shortly thereafter the 'Associated Press' received word and released its own story, which was promptly picked up by sites all around the world.

Some companies could not resist the opportunity for a publicity stunt, such as Qualys Inc. who announced an offer of a "free security test to companies concerned about the reported hacker attacks predicted for July 6, 2003".  Qualys provide security solutions to enterprises.

It is worth pointing out the extreme difficulty any group would experience in actually setting up a coordinated website defacement contest on their own, however with the help of the media at large publicising details of the event, the task suddenly becomes a whole lot easier.

Now all that's left to do is wait and see if the contest lives up to all the hype.  So far however things are not looking promising - Zone-H has been experiencing intermittent technical difficulties since news of the contest spread.

Update: 03/07/03@15:00

‘Eleonora[67]' associated with defacers-challenge.com was reached for comment and stated that the competition was not being operated for personal gain, but as a "gift and a challenge" to people for which he/she has "great respect".

Eleonora[67] went on to mention that the challenge, was originally intended only for the "underground", and had been under significant pressure to be called it off due the publicity given to it by the media at large.

Excerpt from email:

  The challenge will continue.  The website is down but 2 others mirrors are up tomorrow.  Participants can still enter this challenge until day 5 of July (by sending a mail to {edit}).  Many people from the underground are helping me in this contest.

This challenge does not have capitalist intuitive.  The defacers are always humiliated but the underground is strong, I want to show everybody the real power of theses guys.

Spelling / grammar correction have been made - original text available on request.
{edit} signifies where content has been changed in the interest limiting exposure, and therefore defacements.

Eleonora[67]'s email sent in response to a request for comments originated from a French IP address not found to be running proxies on any common ports, leading to the conclusion he/she is indeed French, and was not using the machine as a go-between.

Update: 08/07/03@13:44

A full analysis of what actually happened is now available at http://www.rootsecure.net/?p=reports/sunday_defacement_contest_full_analysis

Related Links:

defacers-challenge.com - official site, now down [Rootsecure.net mirror]

Zone-H.org statement about the announced defacement challenge, Zone-H
Defacement contest: truth or hoax? It doesn't matter, Zone-H
Government Warns of Mass Hacker Attacks, Silicon Valley
Hackers organize vandalism contest, CNet
Web defacement contest scheduled for Sunday, GCN
Web Site Warning: Defacement Contest Sunday, eWeek
Hackers' challenge Web site goes dark, Info World
Hackers poised for weekend mayhem, Web User
Hacker 'Contest' To Deface Web Sites Planned, News Factor
Sunday hack-a-thon, NY Daily News
Hacker Contest Could Strike This Weekend; Thousands Of Sites Threatened, Tech Web
Hacker Hoax or Serious Threat?, Washington Post
A hacker hoax? We'll know Sunday, Sacbee
Defacement contest likely to target Web hosting firms, The Register
Defacers Contest Web Site Killed, Tech Web
Security Groups Warn of Hacking Contest on Sunday, Reuters
Web braces for hacker contest, ABC News
Hacker contest fears dowsed, Australian IT
Threat of July 6 Hacker's 'Contest' Worries Government, Industry, Cross Walk
Brace for hacker contest, News 24
Hackers compete to deface sites, BBC News
Experts dismiss threat of big hacker attack, National Post
Hype or Hot, Trusecure
Hacking contest 'just hype', ZDNet
Hacker contest fears dowsed, News AU
Hacking contest may be fake, firms worry, Electric News
Experts cast doubt on hackers' competition, Computer Weekly
U.S. warns of co-ordinated hacking 'contest', Globe Technology
Hackers on wrecking spree, This Is Money
Computer hackers plan internet wrecking spree, Irish Examiner
Warning of Hacker Activity on July 7th, The Dong
Web at risk from hacking contest, One News
ISS warns of coordinated attack, Info World
Hacking contest probably hoax, Silicon
Website administrators worldwide brace for potential hacker attacks, Channel News Asia
Hackers challenge 'could be hoax', Herald Sun
Sunday Hack Attack Not So Bad, Wired

Hackers Rev Up for Weekend Attack, PC World
Hacker attacks likely on Sunday, MSN
U.S., industry brace for mass hacker attacks, The Star
Hacker Contest Targets Web Sites Sunday, KTVU
ISS warns of coordinated hacker attack on July 6, Computer World
Global hacker attack feared Sunday, Boston Herald
US warns of hacker attacks, News AU
Government Warns of Mass Hacker Attacks, Washington Post
Government Warns of Mass Hacker Attacks, Yahoo
Hackers planning 'contest' Sunday, experts warn, Houston Chroicle
Hackers planning website 'massacre', Ananovav
Experts warn of planned hacking 'contest', ADN
Contest could bring mass hacker attacks this weekend, AZ Central
Experts warn of major hacker attack Sunday, CTV
Experts warn of '666' hack-attack danger, iol
Experts warn of mass hacking contest, Globe Technology
U.S. warns of hacker attacks on Sunday, Sun Spot
Officials warn of mass attacks in hacker 'contest', myTelus
Government, industry warn of mass hacker attacks on July 6, Star Tribune
Government, industry warn of mass hacker attacks on July 6, SF Gate
Hackers compete to deface Web sites, ZDNet
Hackers threaten attacks Sunday, Kentucky
Net users brace for hacker attack, The Courier Mail
Hacker contest may target Web sites, Bay Area
DHS: Mass Hack Attack Sunday, Wired
Internet Experts Brace for Hacker Contest, Hispanic Business
Will hackers attack 6,000 Web sites in 6 hours on July 6?, CNN
Alert against hackers' threat, The Hindu
Government, industry warn of mass hacker attacks in July 6 'contest', CP