Discount Broker, Microsoft Sites Hacked

A view of the room of drawings at the Louvre in Paris on April 4, 2006. The Louvre has 120,000 drawings, including a number that have never been opened simply because there are too many to restore.
AP Photo/Jacques Brinon
The latest in a string of Web site hack attacks left the online trading unit of the National Discount Brokers Group Inc. without its connection to the Internet Thursday, while Microsoft's computers held off the brunt of the attack.

Microsoft officials said the hackers did not knock its site off the web, but did manage to slow it down by about three to seven percent, reports CBS Affiliate KIRO-AM.

Meanwhile, National Discount Broker customers were unable to buy and sell stocks online. National Discount said's site froze up early in the afternoon after the two companies that connect it to the Internet suffered technical problems.

Dennis Marino, the unit's chairman, said the two Internet Service Providers (ISPs) - Exodus Communications Inc. and PSINet Inc. - had yet to figure what went wrong.

Marino said the unit had had a similar problem with ISPs about a year ago.

Earlier this month, some other online brokers fell victim to computer hackers who jammed up their Web sites, but Marino said he did not know if that was the case this time round.

Marino said was taking customer orders by phone until the problem was resolved.

He said the trading volume was "relatively steady over the past few weeks" and was no different earlier in the day.

One customer, Josh Landess, said he kept getting error messages as he tried to log on to the site.

"I couldn't get in at all," said Landess in San Diego, Calif., a self-described day trader.