Security Experts:

Notepad++ Site Hacked in Response to “Je suis Charlie” Edition

The official website of the popular source code editor Notepad++ was hacked and defaced on Monday by hacktivists protesting against the recently released “Je suis Charlie” edition of the application.

Hackers of the Fallaga Team, a Tunisian group, breached and defaced a large number of French websites following the Charlie Hebdo incident in which 12 people were killed by two masked gunmen.

The website of Notepad++ (notepad-plus-plus.org) became a target after the release of version 6.7.4, "Je suis Charlie" edition.

The attackers defaced the website with a message in which they accused Notepad++ developers of saying that “Islam is terrorist.”

In a statement published on Thursday, Don Ho, the France-based developer of Notepad++, clarified that the hackers have not compromised the binaries of the “Je suis Charlie” edition because they are stored on a different server.

“The message of the defacement accused Notepad++ of inciting hatred towards Islam and accusing Islam of supporting terrorism. The statements of Notepad++ ‘Je suis Charlie’ edition support nothing but the freedom of expression and only that. The fact of Notepad++ supporting the ‘Je suis Charlie’ movement has nothing to do with any accusation towards a specific community,” Ho explained.

“In fact the ‘Je suis Charlie’ movement in France, as far as I can tell, deserves no label of racism or of Islamophobia. I have many Muslim friends who are for ‘Je suis Charlie’. And sincerely, I don't think that two extremist fools can stand for all Muslims or Islam itself,” he added.

The developer highlighted that those who don’t like the “Je suis Charlie” edition can simply use version 6.7.3, which contains the same features and bug fixes.

Hundreds of French websites have been defaced over the past days. Islamist hackers started launching attacks after some members of the Anonymous hacktivist movement initiated an anti-jihadist campaign in response to the Charlie Hebdo shooting.

The Charlie Hebdo incident has given hacktivists a reason to deface websites, but it has also given cybercriminals the opportunity to lure unsuspecting users to their shady websites. Researchers at OpenDNS discovered a fake BBC News website earlier this week. The site was shut down before experts could determine its purpose, but it could have been used to serve malicious content, redirect users to other websites, or for click fraud purposes.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.