Readers trying to view EthicsDaily.com at an inopportune time Wednesday afternoon were redirected to another Web site with pornographic images. Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, issued this statement.

“I’m embarrassed and angry that EthicsDaily.com was maliciously hacked shortly before 3 p.m. CST on Wednesday,” he said. “I regret that our readers were redirected to a dreadful pornography site. I want our readers to know that the EthicsDaily.com staff is sorry for the offense that it caused our readers.

“Upon being alerted to the hijacking of our site, we instructed our Web host to shut down the entire site. The site was down for approximately one hour. We have taken steps to safeguard our site and our readers, while our Web host continues to investigate this security failure,” Parham said.

Hijacking is a form of computer hacking where an attacker takes control of an Internet communication similar to a hijacker taking over a flight. In some cases hackers enter and compromise Web sites. In other cases they intercept messages and retransmit them to another site.

Famous examples include a February 2000 hijacking of a company that specializes in Internet security that redirected readers to a spoof site. In 2005 atheists hijacked a Christian church advertising network with an anti-Jesus message.

Just last week readers trying to access the Christian Web site Crosswalk.com were greeted by images of burning crosses and messages from a hacker directed to “Christian sheep.”

“We think that the Internet is a tremendous tool for the common good,” Parham said. “We also think that among us are those who oppose the common good through actions like hacking Webs site and spamming e-mail addresses.”

EthicsDaily.com had more than 2.9 million page requests in 2007, compared to 1.3 million in 2005. Page requests are the number of times articles are read, a more accurate measurement that “hits.”

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.

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