The British Royal Navy was forced to shut down its website after it came under attack by a hacker identified by Internet security software vendor Sophos.
Sophos said that the hacker struck the main web site but the Ministry of Defence said that just a fraction of the web site was affected by the attack.
Sophos revealed the hacker, calling himself TinKode and believed to be from Romania, posted information about the website as well as details of administrator usernames and passwords.
The Royal Navy replaced the site with a message that said “Unfortunately the Royal Navy website is currently undergoing essential maintenance. Please visit again soon.”
Hacker TinKode is known to Sophos by way of reportedly revealing security lapses in the NASA web site and also revealed technical details of vulnerabilities in US Army web sites.
Just last week the new British National Security Strategy declared that cyber attacks were now the “highest priority for UK national security”, ranking up there with terrorism.
“We can all be thankful that Tinkode's activities appear to be have been more mischievous than dangerous,” said Sophos technology consultant Graham Cluley.
“If someone with more malice in mind had hacked the site they could have used it to post malicious links on the Navy's JackSpeak blog, or embedded a Trojan horse into the site's main page.”