San Antonio library Internet access hacked : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Express-News Metro & State News Hacker cuts library catalog access

(Last updated Tuesday, Mar 28, 2000)

By Jacque Crouse Express-News Staff Writer

A hacker played minor havoc with the San Antonio library Internet access site twice this week, and managed Tuesday to neutralize access to the computerized card catalog.

Library authorities expected the Internet catalog system, where people can check on the availability of books and audiovisuals, to be available again by this morning. The attack happened late Monday or early Tuesday.

The hacker's message  including an admonition to vote Socialist  was laced with misspellings and misgivings about the library's computer staff.

"I warn you before," it read in part. The hacker also left greetings for friends and signed himself as the "Great Magoo." He blamed President Clinton for his actions.

Beth Graham, spokeswoman for the library, said all in-library computers are working, and that all patron information and internal information systems are protected.

"The only thing affected (on Tuesday) was access to the catalog information, and that was only on computers outside the library using the Internet," Graham said. "When we discovered the hacking early Tuesday, we simply put up a notice that the catalog was temporarily unavailable. The other databases were unaffected."

Databases accessible through the library Web link at include ProQuest Direct, with more than 5,000 magazines and newspapers; KidsQuest Direct, a similar database for children; Gale Literary Resource Center, a compilation of biographies, literary criticism and information; and Facts on File, complete information on major events of the past 20 years.

Graham also said there is the Electric Library, with the full text of many books, magazines and newspapers; and NoveList, a source for books that are similar or have the same author.

Martha Knott, supervisor of electronic services, said the Web server is outside the firewall security device that protects the library site.

"That is so people can gain access to our catalogues," she said. "We are talking to the city's Information Services Department to see how we can place more security in the system and still allow the access for the public that is needed."

-- Martin Thompson (, March 29, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ