DOHA: Several Qatar websites carrying the .qa domain name were hacked for several hours yesterday. The websites that were hit, include important government portals, facebook.qa, google.com.qa, in addition to several Qatar-based news sites.
The affected sites were either defaced or shut down completely, and were reinstated by the evening.
IT experts told The Peninsula that Qatar’s Domains Registry (registry.qa) was hacked and the DNS (Domain Name System) records of several major domains were altered. DNS hijack allows hackers to deface high profile websites like Google, Yahoo among others.
“It seems the hackers were using a free subscription US server. This server can be used free for limited hours”, a techie told this paper.
“The entire system is back to normal”, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology tweeted in the evening.
“After noticing the shutdown of major websites, ictQATAR asked service providers to back the service and they acted in no time”, reported Al Sharq. It was just a temporary hitch and the hackers couldn’t do any serious harm, it said.
The Ministry of Interior said hacking did not affect its services and all online services were normal.