In wake of attack on Thomas site, library evaluates its online security practices

In wake of attack on Thomas site, library evaluates its online security practices

By Shruti Dat'

GCN Staff

The recent hacking of one of the Library of Congress' main sites has put a plan to upgrade the library's Web services in a new light.

An increase in traffic had led officials to plan an upgrade of the library's Web systems this year. 'Most of the upgrades are designed to meet increased traffic and create redundancy and reliability,' said Herbert Becker, director of information technology services.

But last Monday's attack gave the upgrades new urgency. Computer vandals on the evening of Jan. 17 defaced the home page of the library's Thomas legislative search site, at

The library staff discovered the site had been hacked about an hour after the 6 p.m. incident. Library officials at 7:20 p.m. blocked access to the site; the site was back online the next day.

The vandals, who identified themselves as the Lamers Team, altered the site and posted the phrase, 'U.S. Congress Web site'defeated!' In a note posted on the site, the vandals described themselves as 'four hackers from a little country in Europe.' The hackers also posted the method they used to breach the site, according to published reports.

After the incident, library staff members did a network review and studied the library's computer security measures and procedures.

The library had recently upgraded the firewalls on its IBM RS/6000 Model S70 Web server. It plans to make further enhancements soon, Becker said.

The Office of IT Services received a $3.3 million funding increase for this year. The $37.9 million budget will fund the system upgrades, Becker said.

Stay Connected

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.