A report surfaced Sunday via Hacker News that Google had been the victim of a cyberattack. A Bangladeshi hacker, whose alias is TiGER-M@TE, claimed responsibility for what appeared to be a defacement attack of google.co.ke, the Kenyan version of Google's search engine.
The traditional white background was changed to black, and the Google logo was replaced with a red stamp that read “Hacked.” Users reported that music also played in the background.
The wound was only skin-deep. TiGER-M@TE did not actually deface Google, but rather infiltrated a domain name server (DNS) in Kenya and redirected users to an alternate website. The same thing happened to the Kenyan domains for Microsoft, LinkedIn, HP and Dell.
“Google services in Kenya were not hacked,” a spokesperson for Google wrote IBTimes in an email, adding that no user data was compromised in any way. “For a short period, some users visiting google.co.ke and a few other Web addresses were redirected to a different website. We are in contact with the organization responsible for managing domain names in Kenya."
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The issue has since been resolved, and google.co.ke was back up and running as usual Monday morning, so it doesn’t look like TiGER-M@TE found any new vulnerability with Google. In fact, this isn’t even the first time this sort of DNS-hijack has happened. Servers in Romania, Morocco and Uganda were also used to redirect users to pages claiming to have hacked Google.
If anyone should be able to protect itself from a hacker, it’s Google. Last month, Google launched an initiative to help webmasters learn more how and why websites get hacked and what can be done to recover any lost or stolen data. It even presented an eight-step recovery process for victims of hacking.