Hacking attacks aren’t the only headaches for the digital side of Rupert Murdoch’s empire. New Firefox and Chrome additions allow people to avoid Murdoch properties on the Web.
It’s safe to say Rupert Murdoch is having a bad month. A couple developers have created free tools to help consumers stay away from websites owned by the Murdoch media empire. A Firefox add-on called MurdochAlert creates a warning when users are loading one of 100+ sites. For instance, if a user lands on Fox News, an alert bar appears to warn the user of the “potential computer security risks of accessing Murdoch-controlled sites”. The add-on comes with a Greasemonkey script for any user that wants to alter the design.
A Chrome extension takes a more stringent approach and completely halts the user from loading a Murdoch property. Called Murdoch Block, the extension displays a warning before allowing the user to choose to load the site. Popular blocked properties include Hulu (31 percent owned by Fox), Fox News, MySpace, Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. However, News Corp-owned IGN and American Idol sites didn’t get the same treatment from the developer.
Collectively, the add-on and extension have nearly 5,000 users since being added to the corresponding databases earlier this week. These tools have been developed in response to the current phone hacking scandal that caused Murdoch-owned News of the World to shut down last week. The developer of the Firefox add-on is concerned that hacking and abuse of user data may also extend into the sites controlled by Murdoch, either from internal employees or groups like LulzSec. Earlier this week, LulzSec hacked the UK’s The Sun to by adding a page that claimed Rupert Murdoch had been found dead
Rupert Murdoch and son James Murdoch have been under fire by British politicians this week regarding questioning about the phone hacking scandal as well as the questionable relationships between News Corp. newspapers and the police department. They also face the possibility that a hacker affiliated with Anonymous has access to 4GB of potentially incriminating email communication as claimed on his Twitter account.