Danish sites hacked over controversial cartoon

Muslim extremists angered over satirical Danish caricatures of the prophet Muhammad have launched a cyberspace attack.

A number of online journals today reported a series of attacks against Danish websites, including several newspapers.

"Many of these are just typical defacements," anti-virus vendor F-Secure said today, "but the message is very directly anti-Danish."

The sites were hit with DoS attacks, the blog said.

"These attacks...are fairly easy to do," one site said. "They are so easy to do that people with only a very limited knowledge of computers and the internet can conceivably take down an entire site with such an attack."

Hacker monitoring agency Zone-H said malware authors have defaced more than 500 sites since the conflict began.

"Several hacker groups from different Muslim nations united their forces in order to produce the larger amount of damages in Danish and more generally Western web servers," Zone-H said today. "During the attacks, they promoted both moderate and extremist manifestos through the defacement of the homepages, promoting also a boycott campaign...against Danish products."

Danish blog "Viking Observer" said that among the sites hit with DoS attacks was the homepage of Jyllands-Postens, the Danish newspaper that originally published the Mohammed drawings.

Many figures from the Islamic world have denounced the cartoons, first published in September but reprinted in several European newspapers last week. One of the 12 drawings depicts Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban.

Tradition prohibits any depiction of the prophet Mohammed out of fears that such art could lead to idolatry, or the worship of images that are not God.

Over the last week, violence has erupted in the Middle East, with Syrians attacking Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus.

Palestinians protested in Gaza City, throwing stones at a European Commission building, burning Danish and German flags and urging a boycott of all Danish goods.

The Observer said a mass Danish email is circulating, urging recipients to participate in a counter cyberattack against the Arab media.

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