Computer hackers vandalized one of the U.S. government's most popular Internet sites Monday, preventing visitors from searching new legislation being considered by Congress.
The hackers altered the "Thomas" Website of the Library of Congress, named after the late U.S. president, Thomas Jefferson.
The site is a favorite among journalists and researchers who need immediate information about bills under consideration on Capitol Hill.
The vandals claimed to be "four hackers from a little country in Europe," and changed the site to read: "U.S. Congress Website defeated!"
Monday's attack was the most serious against a government World Wide Web site since the start of the year and similar in audacity to attacks last year against Web sites for the FBI, Senate, U.S. Army and White House.
The electronic vandalism also came amid renewed emphasis by the government on keeping safe its most important computers, which generally don't include those running its Web sites. Officials astonished at the scope of risks to the government from Y2K bugs have called for tighter security of their systems.
The moniker the hackers used, "Lamers Team," is not particularly prominent among the computer underground, where groups and allegiances can be fluid.
The hackers published on the altered site the recipe they claimed to have used to gain access to the government's computer running the service.
They left what was said to be a software log that included part of a user's identification number, but it was partially masked "to hide the user who make (sic) this possible."