Pro-ISIS Messages Posted on Hacked Local Government Sites
By Carrie Wells
The Howard County, Md., government website was hacked Sunday with messages supporting the Islamic State, part of a larger attack on local government websites around the country.
A message on the website Sunday afternoon said President Donald Trump "will be held accountable" for "every drop of blood flowing in Muslim countries." It went on to express love for the self-declared Islamic State, also known as ISIS, the organization the United States and its allies are fighting in Iraq, Syria and other countries.
The message said the website page had been "Hacked By Team System Dz." It was quickly taken down. The county website was still down as of 10:40 p.m.
A Howard County spokesman said the county's IT team was addressing the hack.
"Our IT team was alerted to the problem, has identified the issue and expects to have it resolved shortly," spokesman Mark Miller said in a statement.
The FBI field office in Baltimore said the field office in San Francisco is handling the investigation and referred comment to officials there. They could not be immediately reached for comment.
The website of Ohio Gov. John Kasich and pages of local governments in Ohio and New York showed similar messages.
The hacked websites in Ohio and Long Island were accompanied by music and included links to the hacker's pro-ISIS Facebook page, according to local media reports.
Howard County Councilman Calvin Ball said the county should evaluate its IT infrastructure for vulnerabilities to ensure such hacks aren't repeated.
"We definitely need to investigate," he said. "We need to evaluate our IT infrastructure, and if there are shortcomings we need to make sure they're resolved immediately."
Ball noted that the hack came as Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting.
"In Howard County, we're not only a diverse county, our values are inclusion," Ball said. "I am very disappointed that as many of us are celebrating Eid and are celebrating the end of Ramadan, to see these types of messages are appalling."
The Twitter account of a Salisbury television station was targeted in a similar attack in 2015.
"INFIDELS, NEW YEAR WILL MAKE YOU SUFFER," read one tweet from the commandeered account of WBOC. The profile picture was replaced by an image of a masked man and text reading: "CyberCaliphate ... i love you isis."
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