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Hackers strike The Bermudian group’s websites

The Bermudian Magazine group of online publications has been struck by a major hacking attack which resulted in a black screen with a message from the hacker on the home pages of their three websites.

Tina Stevenson, the editor and publisher of The Bermudian Publishing Company, explained the attack occurred on Monday evening — the day before they were due to launch two brand new websites — one for their flagship publication The Bermudian and the other for the Dockyard Times, a stablemate of the group. She explained she was talking to her son Cooper Stevenson, a reporter with The Royal Gazette, when the attack happened.

Mr Stevenson picked up the fact they had been hacked first, via The Bermudian's Facebook page. When they turned to the website: “the screen was black, and there was a message, which read: ‘You've been hacked by Dr Shano'. Cooper Googled him and found that he is a major hacker,” she said. “When you think, it is just being done to be destructive.”

The message read: “Hacked By Dr.SHANO [ admin just playing a game, never mind ... ] Just play the game admin :)”

Ms Stevenson explained that The Bermudian and Bermudian Weddings websites date back to 2010, at which time she was advised to use the website software Joomla because two sites were to be rich with content, with large numbers of photographs and art. Other more secure website builders would not have been able to handle the quantity of material that they expected to have available on the websites.

She launched the Dockyard Times and its accompanying website in 2012, using the same software.

At the end of 2013 she was advised by the software provider that she could no longer update her websites. “They were out of date,” she said. About two months ago, they began the process of rebuilding the Dockyard Times as well as The Bermudian sites. Because of the time and money involved in the process, she decided not to rebuild Bermudian Weddings website at the same time.

The new version of Joomla used for the new websites “is all about security”, she said. “We do have a very big website in order to hold all the images — it's behemoth. But it will be secure for a very long time.

“But the Weddings website is less secure. The hacker got in through the Weddings website and hit all our websites. It was over in a matter of minutes.

“The web guy dealt with it right away — in a matter of hours, and no damage was done. Our Dockyard Times site was up in no time.”

Now the new The Bermudian site is also up and running, and Bermudian Weddings will also be back up and running in the near future.

However, she said: “Bermudian Weddings.com will remain vulnerable — it's very frightening for us, because it is an important part of our business.

“And it will keep happening so long as the Bermudian Weddings site is insecure — hackers will be able to get into the website. So now we have to build another one because of the hackers — and because of this, we will have to pick up the pace.

“Financially, it is an undertaking to build a website, but so many people turn to to Bermudian Weddings — and people from overseas as well. We have the most information about getting married in Bermuda in one place that you will find.”

While this hacking was relatively harmless, she warned: “An attack can destroy so many files — it can put you out of business for a long time.”

The websites are an important part of The Bermudian's group of publications, said Ms Stevenson.

“Our philosophy for a number of years has been that our readers take their content in different ways, and we provide it in different ways.

It is so much work, but it is exciting when it is built — and looks great!”

Violated: The Bermudian's websites were temporarily disabled

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Published March 26, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 25, 2014 at 9:48 pm)

Hackers strike The Bermudian group’s websites

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