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Vatican Attacked by Hackers Again


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“Paedophilia”, “obscurantism” and other issues are spurring hackers to take action against the Holy See

Alessandro Speciale

Vatican City

It seems to have become a habit: over the past few weeks, the Anonynous hacker group has targeted the Vatican website www.vatican.va three times, each time making it impossible to access for about an hour or so. The first attack took place on 3 March, the second - which also targeted Vatican Radio servers, hosted by a foreign provider and not by an internal Vatican provider  – took place on 12 March an the third and apparently most brief attack took place today.

 

But why so much viciousness against the Vatican? It is hard to tell reading the communiqués sent by the group of computer pirates, published on the anon-news.blogspost.it website. The first time, the accusations against the Vatican took on the classical anti-clerical tone – from the killing of Italian philosopher and heretic Giordano Bruno who was burned at the stake, to accusations of obscurantism. The second time Anonymous focused its accusations on the affairs discussed on Vatican Radio. The third time, the collective communiqué only made reference to the paedophilia scandal, denouncing the violence a priest allegedly shown against a girl who was a friend of one of the hackers.

 

In all three cases, Anonymous seems to have been unable to get into the Vatican server directly - although it supposedly managed to hack into the Vatican Radio servers, at least partially – also because, as the Holy See stated, on all three occasions when Vatican websites were attacked, traffic was quickly re-directed to other servers.

 

Pirates’ success is confirmed when they manage to get a message to appear on their target’s homepage. This happened last month when hackers made a video of the famous atheist philosopher Richard Dawkins appear on the websites of three churches in North Carolina.

 

In the case of the Vatican website, hackers adopted a “rougher” approach, with an attack specialists call DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service). This consists in overloading a website with a large volume of access requests in a short space of time. This approach requires the involvement of expert hackers and a number of volunteers who go to the webpage specifically created by Anonymous and lend their computers (or mobile phones or tablets) to the pirates, who use them as new “bases” from which to launch their attack.

 

This system was also used last August, when hackers tried to access the website on World Youth Day and seeing that website was well protected, resorted to the second system.

 

The attacks are described in a report by database and application security company Imperva, which Anonynous hackers mockingly referred to when they carried out their second attack. According to analysts, however, this report allegedly accuses them, which would at least partly explain the fierce attacks against the Vatican’s website.

 

The report, entitled “The Anatomy of an Anonymous Attack”, stresses the importance of the first phase of the attack, “recruiting” volunteers that is – a full blown media campaign which involved posting messages, photos, videos, links and articles on the Internet and on social networks, with the aim of recruiting “volunteers” who would be willing to take part in the action. Hackers then study their targets and their weak points and - if these cannot be identified – a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack is carried out, to make websites crash.

 

Attacks show no sign of stopping: hackers have announced that their next target will be the websites covering Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Mexico and Cuba which begins next Friday.

This reminds me of Jehovah's declaration at Revelation 17:16-18 "

16 And the ten horns that you saw, and the wild beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her devastated and naked, and will eat up her fleshy parts and will completely burn her with fire. 17 For God put [it] into their hearts to carry out his thought, even to carry out [their] one thought by giving their kingdom to the wild beast, until the words of God will have been accomplished. 18 And the woman whom you saw means the great city that has a kingdom over the kings of the earth.”

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