Hacker Smacks Down Madonna

By | April 22, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Just days after trying to turn the tables on illicit song-swappers by flooding the Net with bogus tracks from her American Life, Madonna was on the receiving end of some computerized comeuppance this weekend.

An unknown assailant hacked into Madonna’s official site, www.madonna.com, on Saturday and posted the real MP3s of every song from American Life, which is due in stores Tuesday.

Last week, the Material One and label Warner Bros. Records tried to thwart would-be pirates by issuing dummy song files to sites like KaZaA and Morpheus. The files appeared to be leaked tracks from American Life, but when downloaded, instead of the songs, fans got a looped recording of Madonna saying, “What the f-k do you think you’re doing?”

Apparently, somewhere between Friday night and Saturday morning, the hack counterattack began. A digital guerrilla tapped into madonna.com and replaced the home page with a message that read, “This is what the f-k I think I’m doing,” along with MP3s containing the full American Life album, according to the Smoking Gun Website, which has posted screen grabs of the hacked site.

Per the accompanying message, the site switcheroo was “brought to you by the editors of Phrack,” an online zine devoted to hacking that contains the disclaimer “Phrack Magazine accepts no responsibility for the entirely stupid (or illegal) things people may do with the information contained herein…We neither advocate, condone nor participate in any sort of illicit behavior. But we will sit back and watch.”

(The hacker also gives a shout-out to the geek-skewing cable net Tech TV in the form of a marriage proposal to Morgan Webb, the hottie correspondent on The Screen Savers.)

According to Madonna’s camp, the hacking incident was legit and not some carefully choreographed publicity stunt (hey, we wouldn’t put it past her). The site was reportedly down for 15 hours on Saturday, once the folks at madonna.com detected something was amiss. As of Monday, however, everything was back to normal with no traces of the weekend assault.

This isn’t the first time the digerati have lashed out against those in the music biz out to quash illicit file-sharing.

Last August, hackers broke into the Website for the Recording Industry Association of America, the lobbying group leading the charge against online piracy, and put up a message that read: “RIAA against music sharing? Not anymore!”

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