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Hack Attack Closes Al-Jazeera Web Site

The Web site of Arab satellite television network Al-Jazeera, which has been plagued by hacking attacks since it showed pictures of dead U.S. soldiers in Iraq, was largely unavailable in the United States on Wednesday. The outage was at least partly due to an apparently defensive move by Al-Jazeera’s Web host, according to Brian O’Shaughnessy at VeriSign Inc., which runs many of the servers that guide Web traffic. Al-Jazeera’s Web host changed data on servers used to direct Web visitors to the site, perhaps in an attempt to protect itself against hacking. The move left many Web browsers unable to find the site. The Web host, based in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, would not comment on the outage, saying it did not discuss matters concerning clients. Keynote Systems Inc., a company that tracks Web performance, said it succeeded in fewer than 1 percent of its attempts to reach Al-Jazeera’s English-language site from different locations in the United States. The Arabic site was only available 5 percent of the time. Full Story

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