[ISN] Hackers break into Zimbabwe government website

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Wed Feb 2 06:10:26 EST 2005


By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWEAN intelligence officials were investigating a major security
breach this week after two computer wizards from the UK hacked into
the government's website forcing it to go offline.

New Zimbabwe.com was alerted to the breach by the hackers from
Leicester, England.

"The idea was to hack into the website and replace everything on there
with slogans like 'Robert Mugabe is a tyrant'," one of the hackers
told New Zimbabwe.com by telephone last night.

"We were about to achieve our goal when the whole thing crashed," the
hacker who has asked to remain anonymous said. "We will keep trying,
the security is clearly lax."

The government website http://www.gta.gov.zw is now offline and has
been replaced by a server advert from the computer giant Microsoft.  
An intelligence source within the CIO's telcoms unit told New
Zimbabwe.com last night: "This is a very serious security breach. We
are trying to establish how this came about and we are treating it
very seriously. The internet has become a major source of irritation
for the government and the President has admitted as much."

The government recently announced moves to monitor e-mails. The plan
is for all internet service providers in Zimbabwe to forward to
government any e-mail communications "likely to incite or cause alarm,
fear or despondency" under the country's draconian Public Order and
Security Act.

At least two people have been arrested and charged.

However, President Robert Mugabe's bid to play Big Brother has already
suffered a major setback after the Supreme Court, sitting as a full
bench, declared as unconstitutional legal provisions that give the
President powers to eavesdrop, including the powers to intercept mail,
telephone conversations and other such electronic telecommunications

The superior court upheld contentions by the Law Society of Zimbabwe
(LCZ), a grouping of lawyers, who had filed the constitutional
application arguing that the presidential powers provided for by the
Posts and Telecommunication (PTC) Act violated section 20 of the

The lawyers were challenging section 98 and 103 of the PTC Act, which
gives president powers to intercept mail, telephones, e-mail and any
other form of communication.

The Act also gave powers to the president to give any directions to a
licensee requiring him or her to do or not to do a particular
specified action.

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