The website of a Long Island town was among dozens of sites hacked by ISIS sympathizers over the weekend, officials said.
Cryptic messages posted on the hacked site warned President Trump and the American people that they will be held accountable “for every drop of blood flowing in Muslim countries.”
The site also included a pro-ISIS banner and the line: “I love Islamic State.”
The website — brookhavenny.gov — was still down on Monday night, more than 24 hours after pro-ISIS messages showed up on the site on Sunday afternoon.
Brookhaven’s leadership took down the entire web page on Sunday, and it was still down on Monday night. A visit to the site returns a Domain Name System (DNS) error. Brookhaven Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico said the site was expected to be back up by Tuesday.
Brookhaven’s police department wouldn’t comment on the hack, but residents were stunned and concerned to hear of the hack.
“Now it makes it real,” Greg Brown said. “We watch it on the news all the time, now it’s here.”
“It’s scary, very scary,” said Erin Zahn. “To have it this close to home.”
It’s unclear when the hackers hatched the plan or why they targeted Brookhaven’s site. It’s also unknown if they managed to get any sensitive information.
The same pro-ISIS messages appeared on 75 other pages around the world, including government websites for Ohio and Maryland. The Department of Public Safety said the FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security are investigating the hacks. The Suffolk County Police Department’s cybercrime unit is taking part in the investigation of the Brookhaven hack.
The hack is part of ongoing cyberterrorism that has impacted governments and corporations across the globe.
“They’ve done this in the past,” Brookhaven Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico. “I know the federal officials are meeting with us because they are still trying to catch them.”
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.
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.
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 U.S. Senate, said in a tweet Sunday.