page jacking and mouse trapping

From natalie b <>
Date Thu, 23 Sep 1999 07:25:28 -0700 (PDT)

[: hacktivism :]

yesterdays nytimes article:

im still waiting for someone to use this "terrorist"
technique in a more politically useful way. etoy also
"page jacked" in 1995 (?) "forcing" net users to their
site when they typed in key words into a search
engine, like ice cream and mercedes benz.and diverting
them to the etoy site --but purely for promotion and
cough...terrorism....for its own sake

the language of terrorism that is used is pretty
outragous (users are trapped..etc)
what about turning your head from the screen...)

also what about jodi's "capturing" of the browser

--net times Net Sites Co-Opted by Pornographers

              By STEPHEN LABATON

                       ASHINGTON -- The president of a
company that produces a popular Internet
                       game site for teen-agers was
horrified last May when, trying to call up his site,
                       got instead a screenful of
lurid sex scenes. Worse yet, he could not escape.
              time he tried to move on, he got more
pornographic scenes. 

              It turns out that his Web site was not
the only one victimized. Some computer users
              searching for the Harvard Law Review, or
trying to find sites about "Oklahoma tornadoes"
              or "news about Kosovo" or "child car
seats," had the same experience. They were held
              captive by pornographic sites from which
they could not figure out how to escape without
              turning off their computers. 

              As many as 25 million Web pages, more
than 2 percent of
              the World Wide Web, may have been
affected by the Internet
              fraud, which investigators said was
devised by an elusive
              Portuguese hacker and an Australian
pornography company. 

              American and Australian investigators
described the fraud at
              a news conference here today and said
that they had raided
              the offices of the pornography company
on the east coast of
              Australia and had obtained an American
court order to stop it.

              "These operators hijacked Web sites,
kidnapped consumers and held them captive," said
              Jodie Bernstein, director of the Federal
Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer
              Protection. "They exposed surfers,
including children, to the seamiest sort of material
              incapacitated their computers so they
couldn't escape." 

              The scheme involved the cloning of
legitimate Web pages, including such sites as Audi,
              Paine Webber and the Japanese Friendship
Gardens. When computer users tried to reach
              those sites using the Alta Vista search
engine, which indexes the Web, they were, in the new
              cyberspace parlance of investigators,
"page-jacked" to a tawdry site run by the Australian
              company, known to its customers as, Kewl Images,

              When computer users tried to escape
those sites by clicking on their browser's "back" or
              "home" buttons, they were instead
directed to other pornography sites, or
              investigators said. 

              Investigators said the Portuguese
hacker, Carlos Pereira, who cannot be found, and the
              Australian company pulled off the scheme
by copying not only Web pages but also their
              so-called metatags. The tags, invisible
to viewers, provide key words and code that are used
              to index the site for search engines. 

              The defendants stood to make money from
the scheme in three ways, the investigators said.
              They sold advertising on the Web sites,
almost exclusively from pornography companies,
              based on the amount of traffic, and also
offered viewers the chance to see more Web sites by
              paying for them. 

              The Australian company also used the
scheme to inflate the value of domain names, or Web
              addresses, by increasing the viewership
of those addresses through the page-jacking and
              mouse-trapping. The company then tried
to auction those domain names on an Internet site at
              hundreds of times their original cost. 

              At the news conference at the Federal
Trade Commission today, Australian investigators who
              spoke through an Internet video link
from Canberra said they still did not know how much
              money had been made from the scheme. The
Australian officials said they were considering
              civil or criminal charges against the
company and had raided eight places, confiscating a
              variety of computers, routers and
servers integral to the scheme. 

              At the same time, a Federal judge in
Virginia ordered many of the sites run by the company
              and the Portuguese hacker off the Web
and directed them to stop copying legitimate Web
              pages. The contract for registering
Internet names provides that disputes be handled in

              American officials declined to give all
the details of the episode, saying they feared
              Even though the suspects are all foreign
individuals and companies, the officials said the
              United States Government became involved
in the case because many victims were
              Americans and American companies. The
officials acted under the Federal Trade
              Commission Act, which prohibits unfair
or deceptive practices affecting commerce. The
              content of the pornographic sites was
not a legal issue. 

              The authorities said the scheme was a
relatively new kind of operation that did not involve
              traditional hacking, or the defacement
of a Web page. Rather, it involved the improper
              diversion of consumers away from Web
pages they were seeking. 

              The inquiry began after Angel Munoz, the
president of, a popular Internet
              game site for teen-agers, was preparing
for a meeting of his board last May to consider a sale
              of some of his company for more than $20
million. When Munoz tried to see how accessible
              one of the company's sites was by using
the Alta Vista search engine, he was taken to a
              hard-core pornography site. When he
tried to get out of the page by clicking the back and
              home buttons on his browser, more
pornography sites appeared. 

              "I was shocked," Munoz recalled in an
interview today. 

              One of Munoz's company lawyers
complained to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in
              Dallas, which said it could do nothing
about the case. But after the cable channel MSNBC
              reported the incident, the trade
commission decided to start its own investigation. 

              Trade commission officials said the
Australian company took the pornographic sites down in
              June, but later in the summer put them
back up. Investigators said that when they were up,
              Alta Vista received about 20 to 30
complaints each week. The complaints came from diverse
              quarters. They included students on the
Harvard Law Review, mothers who had children on
              their laps when they were page-jacked,
and one man who said he had nearly lost his job
              when his boss noticed he had lurid
images on his computer screen. 

              Executives at Alta Vista said in an
interview today that pornography companies had
              repeatedly tried to trick computer users
and that the company had taken steps to correct the
              problem by carefully monitoring their
index and by offering filters that can be used to
              out objectionable sites. 

              "We support wholeheartedly what the
F.T.C. is doing in this area," said David Emanuel, a
              spokesman for Alta Vista. 

              But Munoz said today that when he
contacted Alta Vista, "They were not particularly

              Investigators say Pereira is well known
in the small community of hackers and operated a
              site called One official
said today that Pereira had boasted of his ability to
              "control Alta Vista." 

              But executives at Alta Vista said today
that they had never heard of him. His whereabouts are
              unknown, although the Federal judge in
Virginia, recognizing that he was all but certain to
              maintain a presence on the Internet,
issued an unusual order that permitted the Government
              serve him a summons by E-mail. 
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