Pro-Iran Hackers Deface Oregon University Web Site

Hackers defaced the home page of the Oregon University System, posting a caustic message telling President Obama to mind his own business and stop talking about the disputed Iranian election.

Attempts to access the university system's Web site were automatically redirected to another page, where readers viewed a message said to be from Iran that asserted there was no cheating in the election. That message was up for 90 minutes before university system technicians intervened Wednesday morning.

The hackers apparently took advantage of third-party software that had not been properly updated, university system spokeswoman Diane Saunders said. Hackers frequently attack the system's computers, but technicians usually beat back their efforts, she said.

"They are able to stomp on most of them," Saunders said.

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She said nobody's personal computers were attacked. Also, no malicious software — which could give hackers remote access to computer hard drives — was introduced.

There was no immediate indication why the hackers targeted the system, which oversees Oregon's seven public universities.

The message that was posted on the Web site, made available to The Associated Press by the university system, addressed Obama and said it was being posted from Iran. The text, in red on a black background, calls on Obama to focus on the economic crisis instead of commenting on the Iranian election.

The message also makes derogatory comments about Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has contended the June 12 vote was rigge problems."

Sympathetic or not, Sanford's confession came after a week of remarkable dishonesty and evasion.

The Republican governor disappeared from the state and misled his staff, telling them he was hiking the Appalachian Trail to escape a stressful legislative session — a lie his spokesman repeated to the public and news media. He also irked lawmakers, including the state's Republican lieutenant governor, Andre Bauer, for leaving no one in charge in his absence. And when confronted by a reporter at the Atlanta airport about his whereabouts, Sanford said he'd gone to Buenos Aires because "it's a great city."

And what about his security detail, charged with protecting him at all times?

Rande Matteson, a professor of criminal justice at Florida's St. Leo University and a former federal law enforcement agent, said lawmakers can and do occasionally dismiss the officers charged with overseeing their safety.

"The governor can do what he wants," Matteson said. "If the governor says 'See you later, don't follow me,' that's their boss. They have to follow what the governor wants to do."

Indeed, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat who resigned last year after he was linked to a prostitution service, was said to have dismissed his security detail to meet a call girl for a tryst at a Washington hotel.

Neil Thigpen, a political science professor at South Carolina's Francis Marion University, said that judging from Sanford's behavior, the governor wanted to be caught.

"I almost feel like he did this whole thing with the intention that it would all come out," Thigpen said. "It's like the guy wanted it out. Why did he draw attention to himself in this fashion? Even with rudimentary scrutiny, he should have known something would bring it to a head."

While Sanford apologized to his wife and four sons, friends and voters across the state, his transgressions almost certainly killed any presidential hopes he may have harbored and could force him to step down as governor.

"I don't think he can survive," said David Woodard, a political scientist at Clemson University. "If he and Jenny could reconcile and go on a tour and ask for support, they could survive. His friends are in the electorate, and for them to embrace him, he has to have contrition. Absent that I think he has to leave."

Jenny Sanford released a statement late Wednesday saying she had asked her husband to move out two weeks ago for a trial separation. Friends said they knew the couple had been having marital difficulties and sought counseling while trying to be good parents to their four young sons.

"Mark is a friend, so is Jenny and the children, and it's painful to see someone hurt," said Kevin Hall, a longtime friend and political adviser to Sanford. "It's painful to see a family have to hurt publicly. I'm not responsible for the public response to this at all. I'm interested in the well-being of the family."