Turkish Hackers Target Swedish Web Sites

AP, October 7, 2007

Hackers in Turkey have attacked more than 5,000 Swedish Web sites in the past week, and at least some of the sabotage appears linked to Muslim anger over a Swedish newspaper drawing that depicted the Prophet Muhammad’s head on a dog’s body.

Around 1,600 Web sites hosted by server-provider Proinet and 3,800 sites hosted by another company have been targeted, Proinet spokesman Kjetil Jensen said Sunday. Jensen said hackers, operating on a Turkish network, at times replaced files on the sites with messages.

According to Swedish news agency TT, the Web site of a children’s cartoon called Bamse was replaced by a message saying Islam’s prophet had been insulted.

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Islamic law is generally interpreted to forbid any depiction of the prophet, even favorable, for fear it could lead to idolatry. Dogs also are considered unclean by conservative Muslims.

The Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda published the drawing by artist Lars Vilks in an Aug. 19 editorial. It triggered protests from Swedish Muslim groups and formal complaints from Muslim countries, including Pakistan and Iran. An insurgent leader in Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, put a $100,000 bounty on Vilks’ head.

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Stefan Grinneby, head of the Swedish communication watchdog’s Internet incident center Sitic, said attacks against Swedish Web sites from Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, have increased in the past three weeks. Some contained messages alluding to the drawing.

“You would need a very large police investigation to establish the connection to the prophet drawings, but considering the increase in recent weeks it is a fair assumption to make,” he said.

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[Editor’s Note: AR News posted related stories here and here. ]

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