The Internet Security Systems' X-Force unit has sounded an alarm for an increase in hacker activity between July 6-7 to coincide with a contest encouraging defacements of Web sites around the world.
ISS raised its current threat level to 'AlertCon 2' to coincide with the site defacement competition, which awards prizes to intruders who successfully compromise an organization's Web server and deface its Web pages.
Analysts monitoring the so-called hacking challenge warned that it could disrupt normal Internet activity and cause mass defacements and shutdown of affected Web pages.
The group said intelligence showed hacker groups are conducting "reconnaissance-scans" prior to the "contest" to identify vulnerable systems. "Major activity won't publicly surface until the early hours of July 6, 2003," X-Force said, encouraging enterprises to review existing security policies, especially on outward facing Web servers.
The competition in question appears to be targeting HP-UX, Apple and IBM-AIX systems, which have limited exposure as Web-hosting platforms.
The New York State Office of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Coordination (CSCIC) also issued an advisory in anticipation of the attacks and recommended that certain preventative measures are taken to protect vulnerable systems.
The CSCIC recommendations include: