Mail & Guardian website taken down after hacker attack

The M&G Online website is now offline in the wake of an attack by Russian hackers

January 26, 2011
Mail & Guardian website taken down after hacker attack

The Mail & Guardian Online, one of South Africa’s oldest news website, has been taken offline.

Mail & Guardian editor Nic Dawes said on Twitter that the website is ‘under sustained attack by hackers’ and that it was taken offline to protect the security of their users. According to Dawes the attacks originate in Russia.

“Our tech team is working flat out to secure the M&G site and take it live again,” said Dawes.

Alistair Fairweather, Digital Platforms Manager for the Mail & Guardian Online, explains that they have fought off the hackers for months, but that they eventually gained root access to the MG Online servers and started to wreck havoc today.

According to Fairweather the attacks on MG Online point to a well resourced and sophisticated group of hackers which aimed to use the site as a phishing platform. The attacks included page redirects and malware planted within the site.

Because of the security risks which these attacks pose to website visitors the decision was made to take down the MG Online site until they can guarantee that the site is safe to visit again.

The MG Online’s technical team are currently rebuilding their servers and going through their code with fine-toothed comb to ensure all malware and other problems are removed.

There is currently no set time at which the MG Online will be live again, but Fairweather said that they are working as fast as possible to get the site up and running.

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