Saturday, January 15, 2011

LiveScience.com appears to be hacked and taken down for maintenance

7:00 PM 1/15/2011 Indian Standard Time
Was trying to visit livescience.com to catch up some interesting science news.
The site said it was down for maintenance!

No one takes a complete website offline for maintenance, atleast they will supply a cached copy online while major maintenance is done in the back end.

So, i googled livescience.com and got into the recent version of the site on Google's cache.
None of the links worked.All turned up 404.Something's fishy here.
Visiting livescience.com/technology provides this,


Lets confirm the 404 from another proxy.


I googled the links rather than visiting the 404 pages.
Google tells that the links may harm my computer.

That's all the evidence.
Now,lets jump to conclusion.

Livescience.com may have been a target of malware infection ,which could have occurred by tapping into vulnerabilities like XSS or any other hacking method.
Then livescience could have started to distribute malware,which maybe the only reason for the "harmful site" warning by google.
Then livescience might have noticed this infection and immediately taken their site completely offline to avoid infecting their visitors.

As we speak,err,type, people at livescience could be working hard to clean up the infection and bring up the site back online.

Thought of covering this story since this news isn't on any other website.
Will report as soon as livescience is back.

More information about livescience:
Alexa ranking:
http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/livescience.com
Wayback machine listing:
http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://livescience.com
Most recent snapshot at wayback machine:
http://web.archive.org/web/20091027230625/http://www.livescience.com/

Update 1:
Its been 9 hours since this story is posted. Its 2:48AM.
LiveScience is Down now.


Final update: Livescience.com is up and running as of now. (Jan 17, 5PM IST)