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 Recent Stories
   Wall Street Unfazed By Computer Hack Attacks
 
   To Track Hackers, FBI Uses Old-School Detective Work
 
   A New Wave in Hack Attacks Hits the Net
 
   Home Computer Users Need to Be Wary of Hackers
 
Online Brokerage and Tech News Site
Latest Victims Of Computer Hackers

   Fox Market Wire
A popular online brokerage and a news site became the latest victims of computer hackers, who have been crippling Web sites by flooding them with thousands of phony e-mail messages.


www.etrade.com

E*Trade said its Web site was under attack, although the scope of the problem wasn't immediately clear. Spokeswoman Heather Fondo said "hackers did get into E*Trade," but it wasn't known whether any customer information was compromised.

And ZDNet.Com, a popular technology news operations, said its Web site was shut down for two hours early Wednesday and also "appeared to have been the target of a denial-of-service attack."

Another online broker, Datek Online Holdings Corp., previously said it suspected that it had been a target for hackers after its site's suffered similar problems for 35 minutes. But it later retracted those comments.

"It looks like it was a coincidence," a spokesman told Reuters, explaining how the problem occurred at one of the routers operated by another company. "They're looking into it."

Charles Schwab & Co. Inc., the No. 1 U.S. online broker, TD Waterhouse Group Inc., and Ameritrade Holding Corp. said they had not experienced any trouble at their sites.

It was the third consecutive day that computer hackers attacked some of the Internet's most popular sites — including Yahoo!, Amazon.com, CNN.com and Buy.com Inc. — all in unusually forceful assaults.

FBI Gets Involved

The FBI, which is investigating, announced a news conference today to discuss the attacks.

Meanwhile, President Clinton said he didn't know if there was anything Washington could do. "But I have asked people who know more about it than I do whether there is anything we can do about it," the president said Wednesday as he left the White House for a trip to Texas.

Internet Seems Vulnerable

The attacks were a dramatic demonstration of the Internet's vulnerabilities and the ease with which determined hackers can wreak havoc across the global computer network.

eBay Inc., the online auction site with more than 10 million customers, said engineers were able to restore full service just before midnight EST. The company offered to credit any customer whose auctions were affected by the sabotage.

Amazon.Com Inc. said its site was inaccessible for more than an hour late Tuesday because large amounts of "junk traffic" were aimed at the company's computers, tying them up and preventing nearly all its customers from making purchases.

All the companies hit Monday and Tuesday said hackers did not gain access inside their computers or retrieve information about their customers.

CNN said its Web site was "seriously affected." It fell under attack for nearly two hours before technicians were able to shield its computers from the hackers late Tuesday night.

Tuesday's attack against Buy.Com, which claims more than 1.3 million customers, apparently was timed to coincide with the company's initial stock offering. Chief executive Greg Hawkins described the sabotage in a statement as "an outside coordinated attack to our network that prevented access to our system."

"The whole thing happened so quickly," said Mitch Hill, the company's chief financial officer. He said the attacks were traced to powerful computers in Boston, New York and Chicago, and that Buy.Com planned to contact the FBI today.

Yahoo! First on Attack List

These moves followed a brazen electronic attack Monday that for hours crippled Yahoo!, among the most popular sites on the Internet, though it was impossible to know immediately whether they were related.

"It's still in the early stages, but we're working to see if there are any common denominators,'' eBay spokeswoman Kristin Seuell said.

Among the Internet underground, where craving for publicity often fuels dramatic attacks against high-profile computers, no one claimed responsibility for the moves against eBay, Amazon, Yahoo! or Buy.Com.

"This is unfortunately one of the outcroppings of being a leading communications medium company," Yahoo! President Jeff Mallett said. "Bad people do bad things. It's going to continue to happen, (but) the penalties are pretty severe."

Mallett and technical experts believe that about 50 powerful computers were hacked across the United States - a fairly trivial task - and instructed simultaneously to send falsified data to "routers" on the Internet that, in turn, were fooled into flooding the Yahoo! Web site with electronic signals.

Mallett estimated that during the attack's peak, Yahoo! was drowning in one gigabit of incoming data every second.

"Most sites don't get that in a year," spokeswoman Diane Hunt said. "That's an incredible amount."

Hunt said that while recovering from the overload, Yahoo! accidentally introduced a bug into its Web-based e-mail system that caused some messages to get garbled. She said the information wasn't lost and the company was working to restore the messages.

Buy.Com's chief executive estimated his site Tuesday was hit with 800 megabits every second, or eight times his site's capacity. He called the crush of data traffic aimed at his company "unprecedented."

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report

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