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Hackers Leave Ransom Note on Yahoo Site

(Associated Press)

In a stunt that would seem to belong in a computer sci-fi game, hackers broke into Yahoo, the Internet’s most popular site, demanding the release of an imprisoned comrade and threatening to unleash a crippling computer virus if he is not freed. Computer security experts, however, were skeptical of the hackers’ claim that they had implanted such a virus. Calling themselves PANTS/HAGIS, the hackers got into Yahoo’s Web site at about 7 p.m. Monday, leaving a digital ransom note. “For the past month, anyone who has viewed Yahoo’s page and used their search engine now has a logic bomb/worm implanted deep within their computer,” it read. “On Christmas Day, 1998, the logic bomb part of this ‘virus’ will become active, wreaking havoc upon the entire planet’s networks. The virus can be stopped. But not by mortals.” The note said an “antidote” program will be made available if hacker Kevin Mitnick is released. Mitnick was indicted last year on charges involving a multimillion-dollar crime wave in cyberspace. Diane Hunt, a spokeswoman for Santa Clara-based Yahoo, said the message was up for only 10 to 15 minutes and that a few thousand people saw it.


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