CNET | News | Hardware | Downloads | Builder | Games | Jobs | Auctions | Prices | Tech Help Free Email  
Entertainment & Media
Advanced • Tips 
Click here for!
Click here for!
  CNET : News : Entertainment & Media : Story  
Market Update | My Portfolio | Broker Reports | Tech Sectors | IPOs | Splits
LAPD suffers mystery hack
By Janet Kornblum
Staff Writer, CNET
May 29, 1997, 1:55 p.m. PT

Call it the case of the unexplained hack.

This morning, reporters throughout cyberspace were greeted by an email message claiming the Los Angeles Police Department's Web site got hacked last night.

Although the Web site now shows a blank, gray screen, a copy of the alleged hack bears a political message accusing the LAPD of racism, calling it the "Death Squad Home Page."

It appeared to be a standard hack, without the pornography or juvenile images used when vandals broke into pages at the Air Force, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Justice Department.

The only problem is that it apparently never happened. The whole story appears to be a hoax about a hoax, at least according to the Net service providers involved with the site.

About a year ago, an LAPD police officer went to Internet Presence Providers for Net access. That got Peter Hertan, president of IPP, thinking. He checked and found out that "" had never been registered with the InterNIC. So he went ahead and filed for it.

Sure enough, nearly a year later, some LAPD officers determined to build an LAPD Web site asked to buy back the URL and Hertan sold it to them at cost.

The officers then asked EarthLink if it would host the site. EarthLink said that it would when the police officers got the official go-ahead.

But that go-ahead never came. The officers went up and down the chain of command and at every level, the answer came back the same: No.

So from May of last year, when it was registered, until today, the LAPD site consisted of a gray screen with the words " Initial Home Page."

Hertan says that from the day he put it up to the day it was taken down, "nothing was added to the Web site. Nothing was taken away. We show no evidence of it being hacked."

EarthLink never made the site live either, says Jon Irwin, vice president of customer support.

Since the site never really existed, it couldn't have been hacked. That means either someone got the story wrong or concocted an hack that wasn't really a hack.

In any case, the Webmaster at "," the official officers' union page and the closest thing to an LAPD Internet site, says it has been untouched by hacker hands.

For the LAPD, the whole episode is proof of nothing except that rumors can travel very quickly on the Net. "I've already hit the news, and I haven't even done anything with the site," said one officer who had tried to help create the site.

Get the Story in "Big Picture"

 Email this story to a friend  Click here for printer friendly version

More from
  • Amnesty International hacked April 28, 1997
• Indonesian site attacked April 24, 1997
• Hacker-spammer war intensifies March 21, 1997
• Mass hacking exposes ISPs March 17, 1997
• Computer crimes rife, unreported February 13, 1997

Send us your news tips Search Get News Alerts

Get software, hardware, and more at the

Latest Headlines
display on desktop

Enterprise Computing 
Eyes on CacheFlow's cash flow
Linux firms score coup with Dell software deal
VA Linux CEO wants to break some Windows
Hewlett-Packard soars past estimates on PC, software sales
Compaq said to have beat Sun in supercomputer bid

Japan's DoCoMo may win stake in SBC, BellSouth venture

Entertainment & Media 
Computer virus targets Swiss bank
New character from Chuck Jones gets Web premiere
FBI to release email surveillance system papers
Yahoo repairs free email service

Personal Technology 
Juno to bundle its free Net service with IBM PCs
Analog shares rocket on earnings, outlook for Othello chips
Investors give little power to PeoplePC

Financing talks to delay Drkoop's earnings report
Three indicted in alleged ploy to defraud investors
Markets drift in calm trading
Web content company testing B2B waters

Did you miss a day?
One Week View

 CD-RW Deals!
 Plextor 32X/12X/10X CDRW
 HP 9100i 32X/8X/4X CD-RW
 HP 9300i 32X/10X/4X CDRW Dispatch: HTML edition
CNET News.Context
CNET Investor Dispatch: HTML edition

All Newsletters

News Options: One Week View | Send us your news tips | News to Go | Advanced Search

Click here for!
Click here for!
Contact us
CNET Services: Auctions · Check Latest Prices · Data Services · Downloads · Enterprise Business · Find a Web Host · Find an ISP · Free Newsletters · Gadgets · Games · Hardware · Help & How-Tos · Latest PCs · News · Publish Your Opinion · Search · Stock Quotes · Tech Jobs · Web Building · All Services
   CNET Jobs | Corrections | How to advertise | Join CNET's Affiliate Program | Support    About CNET  
Back to TopJoin CNET, we're hiring

 Copyright ©1995-2000 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved. Privacy policy.