It has not been a good week for African web site owners. Sites as far apart as Guinea and South Africa have been badly affected by hacker attacks. "Team Evil", a group of Moroccan hackers, has prompted South African website operators to improve their security, following the biggest-ever hacking attack.

Local websites were defaced by the hackers who started destroying 260 websites on the afternoon of January 8. Their path of destruction continued after this date, with the group claiming responsibility by posting their names and a political message on the home pages of the defaced sites.

The message read: "Team anti-USA, anti-Terrorism, anti-Israel. Our message is for USA & Israel are terrorists, people in Iraq & Palestine are dying every day, children are losing their parents, losing their lifes (sic), what's going on?! Move on people! Move on and do something, your turn we'll (sic) come, are you still keeping it quiet?"

All the hacked websites used the Windows 2003 operating system. Reinhardt Buys, managing director of IT company Buys Inc Attorneys, said an article published on has since pointed out that the server computer that hosted all the companies which were hacked had been traced. According to the article, Gamco, a Johannesburg-based internet service provider, hosted all sites that were affected. Speaking to The Star, Gamco director Sean Bezuidenhout said one of their machines was "vulnerable" on Saturday. However, the company was able to pick up the problem within the first hour and fix it.

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