Hacker Group “Anonymous” Threatens to Take Down Ferguson PD Assets

Globally-known hacker group "Anonymous" targets Ferguson Police Department and threatens to wipe out online assets.

September 02, 2014 by Alex Collins, IT Services Consultant

The globally-known hacker group “Anonymous” has selected its next target – the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department.

In a recently released video, the group told the police, “if you abuse, harass or harm in any way the protesters in Ferguson we will take every web-based asset of your departments and governments offline,” the video warned. “That is not a threat, it is a promise.”

The video also threatened, “attacking the protesters will result in the release of personal information on every single member of the Ferguson Police Department, as well as any other jurisdiction that participates in the abuse of this State’s own law. We will seize all your databases and e-mail spools and dump them on the Internet. This is your first and last warning.”

The organization has made several other brazen hacks over the years. For example, in 2011, it hacked into the website of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church after the church refused to stop its anti-gay protests at the funerals of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Also in 2011, a small faction known as LulzSec claimed responsibility for a large data dump in retaliation for the passage of the immigration enforcement bill Arizona SB 1070. The organization released a large group of documents from the Arizona Department of Public Safety that included the personal information and home addresses of many law enforcement officers.

In June 2012, members of the group claimed responsibility for an attack against Sony Pictures that took data that included names, passwords, e-mail addresses, home addresses and dates of birth of thousands of people.

Cyber Protection Today

Cyber security is an ever-changing area today. The FBI has an entire Cyber Crime Division that is dedicated to identifying groups like Anonymous and bringing them to justice. The division has 93 Computer Crimes Task Forces nationwide that “combine state-of-the-art technology and the resources of our federal, state, and local counterparts.”

Make no mistake, this is serious business.

Organizations like local police departments and schools more than likely do not have the level of security and investigation teams on hand that the FBI does. Therefore, it is especially important that solid security systems are in place. According to a recent study, colleges and universities today are at even greater risk of security breaches than the retail and healthcare sectors. Colleges often provide open networks for students and faculty, manage a wide variety of technologies, and house a very large cache of personal data – and it all needs to be protected. One such recent high-profile breach took place at the University of Maryland on February 18, 2014, which exposed more than 300,000 faculty, staff and student records. Another example of vulnerability is The Flashback malware that targets Apple systems. This malware accounted for 37 percent of infections seen at Ivy League universities.

Ultimately, better monitoring of security performance is necessary in order for organizations like schools to protect not just their faculty and students, but their information. That is why it makes a lot of sense to bring in an outside agency that has a specialty in cyber protection. The agency can look at a network with a fresh eye and identify vulnerabilities and potential holes that can turn what may look like a simple issue into a chasm of cyber chaos. Once issues are identified, the agency can work with local IT staff to develop and implement a solid plan of protection. This plan, however, will require regular review and updating, as cyber security today is not a “set it and forget it” game. By developing a long-term relationship with industry experts, organizations have the best possible chance to prevent groups like Anonymous infiltrating a network and exposing critical data.

The All Covered Difference

All Covered is here to work with you to set up, configure and monitor your IT Security to prevent security risks like hackers. Our goal is to protect your company’s data and to ensure you have the proper security implemented to avoid potential data breaches. Contact us today at (866)446-1133 for more information or to schedule a consultation.