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Thursday, August 6, 1998 Published at 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK


Sci/Tech

Mexican hackers target government

The hackers put the Zapatistas onto a government website

By BBC Internet correspondent Chris Nuttall:
Hackers in Mexico appear to be turning the tables on Big Brother by setting up their own electronic surveillance of the government.

A trio of hackers, calling themselves X-Ploit, say they are searching official databases for incriminating material and will publish government bank accounts, cellular phone conversations and e-mail addresses.

They say they have already been able to monitor the surfing habits of senators, including their visits to porn sites.

Government site Zapped

The hackers first posted their defiance of the government when they defaced the Finance Ministry's home page in February and put up a picture of the revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata with the message "We're watching you, Big Brother".

But they say they are not affiliated with the Zapatista National Liberation Army, which began an Indian uprising in the southern state of Chiapas in 1994 and has its own website promoting its cause.

LoTek, a member of the group, told the Reuters news agency in an online interview: "We're only looking to show that we don't agree (with the government). In other places, these protests are not heard, but a hacked website is read by millions."

Apart from the Finance Ministry site, X-Ploit has also hacked that of the Health Ministry, the Senate, the National Water Commission and the National Statistics Institute.

Political hacking is on the increase judging by recent examples:

  • On August 1, hackers known as the KaotiK Team defaced around 45 Indonesian websites and put up a statement calling for autonomy for East Timor.

  • On July 2, the UK-based Milw0rm and the Ashtray Lumberjacks posted a protest against the nuclear tests in India and Pakistan, replacing the home pages of more than 300 websites.




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