Local government agencies in Ohio, New York, and Maryland had their websites hacked by pro-Islamic State cyberattackers Sunday, who replaced the sites with jihadist propaganda.
“You will be held accountable Trump, you and all your people for every drop of blood flowing in Muslim countries. I Love Islamic state,” was the message blasted on the Howard County, Maryland, government website by a pro-ISIS hacking group called Team System Dz, Fox 5 DC reports.
Fox 5 published a response from the Howard County government following their report on the hacking, which read:
Thank you to those who noticed that the Howard County Government website may have been hacked. Our IT team was alerted to the problem, has identified the issue and expects to have it resolved shortly. We apologize for any inconvenience.
The same organization uploaded the same message on a number of Ohio government websites as well, including the state government’s main website and Governor John Kasich’s website. The websites’ original content was completely replaced by the radical Islamist messages, reports WOSU Public Media.
OH Dept of Corrections website right now, this is what you see. Wake up freedom-loving Americans. Radical Islam infiltrating the heartland. pic.twitter.com/dRll4aNiwQ
— Josh Mandel (@JoshMandelOhio) June 25, 2017
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel was the first to publicly report on the hacks. He tweeted about them on Sunday morning. By Sunday afternoon, government officials had taken down the propaganda.
The Brookhaven, New York, town website was also taken down by a similar incident, according to News 12 Long Island. The news outlet identified the culprits in this incident as “Team System Dz” as well.
A statement released by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who is on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in response to the hacking in Brookhaven read:
While we are still waiting on more intel as to this pro-ISIS hack, I have been in touch with Brookhaven Town Deputy Supervisor and Councilman Dan Panico and offered to assist in any way possible with regards to securing necessary support and resources from the federal government. I will continue to do anything in my power to improve cyber security and protect against other threats facing our nation at home and abroad.
Hacking public or government-related websites has been a regular tactic of Islamic State supporters for years. ISIS supporters have targeted websites belonging to non-profit groups, news organizations, private businesses, and national governments.
Among the incidents in the latter category is the hacking of a website belonging to the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2015. In another incident, on June 21, Islamic State supporters hacked the Argentine military’s website with the following message: “We are the Islamic State. This is a threat. ISIS (or, in English, Islamic State) has arrived in Argentina and you will soon know more about us.”