US govt-linked websites hacked with pro-IS rant

US govt-linked websites hacked with pro-IS rant

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Government websites, many of them in Ohio, were hacked on Sunday with a message that professed support for the Islamic State terrorist group.

A message posted on the website of Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich said, "You will be held accountable Trump, you and all your people for every drop of blood flowing in Muslim countries."

The message, left by "Team System Dz," also ended, "I love the Islamic state."

Authors of the website "Cryptosphere," which tracks hackers worldwide, have detailed dozens, if not hundreds, of similar hacks in recent years by the so-called Team System DZ, which they called a "pro-ISIS hacker crew" and claim are based in Algeria.

They are known to internet security experts as a pro-IS hacker group engaged in low-level cyber warfare, but mostly web page defacement.

"Team System Dz" has been known to hack websites worldwide for the past several years - from motorcycle retailers to daycare centers to computer repair businesses - with an array of anti-Israel and pro-Islamic messages.

Their messages Sunday also infiltrated government websites in the town of Brookhaven, New York, according to news reports in that state, as well as the website for Howard County, Maryland. In the past, the group also claimed responsibility for similar hacks in the past in Richland County, Wisconsin, and in places such as Aberdeen, Scotland, and Sweden.

Several other government websites were hacked in Ohio, including that of first lady Karen Kasich, Medicaid, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Casino Control Commission.

Tom Hoyt, chief communications officer for Ohio's Department of Administrative Services, was among Ohio officials who confirmed the hack.

"All affected servers have been taken offline and we are investigating how these hackers were able to deface these websites," he said. "We also are working with law enforcement to better understand what happened."

He said the hacking in Ohio happened at about 11 a.m. EDT. He hoped the websites would be up and running sometime Monday.

The websites in Brookhaven and Howard County also remained down on Sunday. When asked about the outage on the Brookhaven site, a spokeswoman who answered the phone at the New York town's police department simply offered a "no comment."

The hack is part of ongoing cyberterrorism that has impacted governments and corporations across the globe.

The group also have a presence on Facebook, with 900 followers.

Some see these types of hacks - sometimes called "defacement" - as simply a nuisance, though in some instances, they have been disruptive to work and government life.

But others see cause for alarm. "Wake up freedom-loving Americans. Radical Islam infiltrating the heartland," Josh Mandel, the Ohio treasurer and a Republican candidate for US Senate, said in a tweet Sunday.

Impacted websites, they said, have included those for a synagogue in Florida, the student union at the University of New Brunswick in Canada, for UK Rugby and a number of websites on Wordpress.

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