SCO Web site hack mocks company’s legal claims

Malicious hackers have compromised The SCO Group Inc.’s Web page twice in as many days, posting messages that appear to mock the company’s claims to own parts of the Linux operating system.

On Monday, hackers compromised the site and inserted a banner image that reads “We own all your code. Pay us all your money.” The image was removed on Monday morning in the U.S., but the incident followed a similar attack on Sunday.

SCO acknowledged that its Web site “experienced two intrusions by a malicious hacker that temporarily altered two web pages.” The Lindon, Utah, company acted quickly to restore the hacked pages and patch a vulnerability that the hackers used to compromise the site, according to an e-mail statement from Blake Stowell, the company’s public relations director.

IDG News Service could not confirm the nature of the attack on Sunday, but open source news Web site on Sunday claimed that the SCO site was altered to say that the company would be making intellectual property claims against Microsoft Corp.’s software. That hack displayed the signature “hacked by realloc(,” according to The same signature was displayed in the background of the altered banner image in Monday’s attack.

SCO has been a frequent target of online attacks since it filed a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against IBM Corp. in March 2003, charging the company with misappropriation of trade secrets and unfair competition. Among other things, SCO claims that IBM violated SCO’s copyright on Unix System V, which SCO purchased from Novell Inc., by copying elements of that operating system into Linux, which is distributed for free.

SCO’s legal claim to own parts of Linux, and its threats to enforce its ownership through patent infringement lawsuits against Linux users, raised the ire of open source enthusiasts. The company’s legal actions are seen as a threat to the spread of Linux, which many consider a possible rival to the dominance of Microsoft’s proprietary desktop and server operating systems. The lawsuits have prompted companies, including Novell and Hewlett-Packard Co., to offer customers protection against copyright infringement suits.

Despite the serial attacks, SCO believes that it addressed security issues on its site to prevent future intrusions, Stowell said

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