Napster fans crack Web sites to get message out

Several web sites around the world were reportedly broken into and changed last month by a cracker bent on calling attention to the fight between the music industry and Napster Inc.

A manifesto of sorts, titled “The Save Napster Hack Attack,” was posted on the cracked sites in support of the Redwood City, Calif., digital music-swapping Web site.

Though all the sites were apparently restored within 24 hours, a cached version of the posting is visible on, a site that collects information about Web site attacks.

Each of the hacked sites was signed by “,” who claimed responsibility for the attacks in an e-mail to Computerworld (U.S.).

“I was moved to do this because I know a lot of people in real life who use Napster and still buy CDs very often – it’s just not fair,” the hacker wrote.

FBI spokeswoman Debbie Weierman said that the agency’s National Infrastructure Protection Center is “looking into the reports.”

A federal judge ruled against Napster in July, in a lawsuit filed by record companies represented by the Washington-based Recording Industry Association of America, ordering Napster to stop making copyrighted materials available on its site. That order was stayed pending appeal., which calls itself a computer-security Web site, claimed to have verified hacks to sites owned by Honda Motor Co., Mitsubishi Electric Automation Inc., TDK USA Corp. and Company representatives didn’t return calls for comments.

“It sounds like we have a few kids running amok,” said Eric Hemmendinger, an analyst at Aberdeen Group Inc. in Boston. In fact, the “Save Napster” post was signed: “Hi Mom!”

“This isn’t a security story. This is really a story about how the music industry is dealing with its former reluctance to work with the Internet,” Hemmendinger said.

It’s not even about Napster, said Ira Winkler, president of the Internet Security Advisors Group in Severna Park, Md., and author of Corporate Espionage.

“A lot of hacking goes on because people want to hack, and then they find a cause later,” Winkler said. “The issue is that now people are just hacking Web sites and then saying they are doing it to support Napster.”