• United States



Ohio government websites defaced by pro-ISIS hackers

Jun 26, 20173 mins
Data and Information SecurityInternetSecurity

Team System DZ hackers defaced at least 12 government websites in three states, with Ohio suffering the most defacements on Sunday.

Hackers proclaiming to be pro-ISIS defaced 10 Ohio government websites on Sunday as well as the government websites for Howard County, Maryland, and Brookhaven, Long Island.

“Hacked by Team System DZ,” the defacements read. “Anti: Govt all word.”

The pro-ISIS message continued:

You will be held accountable Trump, you and all your people for every drop of blood flowing in Muslim countries. I Love Islamic state.

A screenshot of the defaced Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections website was posted on Facebook and Twitter by Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel. He added, “OH Dept of Corrections website right now, this is what you see. Wake up freedom-loving Americans. Radical Islam infiltrating the heartland.”

The following Ohio government websites were defaced with pro-Islamic State group propaganda at approximately 11 a.m. EDT on Sunday:

  • Ohio Governor John Kasich
  • Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections
  • Medicaid
  • Inspector General
  • Office of Workforce Transformation
  • Casino Control Commission
  • Office of Health Transformation
  • Ohio First Lady Karen Kasich
  • Office of Facilities and Construction Commission
  • LeanOhio

Bloomberg reported that two servers and 10 Ohio government websites had been affected. On Sunday, a spokesperson for the Ohio governor’s office told WKYC: “As soon as we were notified of the situation we immediately began to correct it and will continue to monitor until fully resolved.”

Tom Hoyt, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, added, “State of Ohio IT staff are working to restore the computer systems that were impacted today. All affected servers have been taken offline and we are investigating how these hackers were able to deface these websites. We also are working with law enforcement to better understand what happened.”

The New York Post reported that the same defacement appeared on the government website for Brookhaven, Long Island.

CNN noted that the government website for Howard County, Maryland, had also been defaced with the same message. The Columbia Patch claimed, “There was a musical component, with chanting, on the Howard County page that was not apparent on others.”

On Facebook, Howard County Government issued a thank you to those who “noticed 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.”

It’s not the Feds in Maryland investigating the Howard County defacement. The Baltimore Sun reported, “The FBI field office in Baltimore said the field office in San Francisco is handling the investigation and referred comment to officials there.”

The Team System DZ hackers listed only the Ohio government websites in a Facebook post. A later post spewed an anti-American message to which commenter Alex Cassell replied: “If you think hacking a website accomplishes anything you are moron, and likely about 12 years old. Also, there is nothing more cowardly than ‘fighting back’ by hiding out on the internet and crying about perceived injustices.”                                                                             

While the defacements are something to take note of, this XKCD cartoon puts website defacement in perspective:

Over the years, Team System DZ has hit a long list of websites hosted in various countries.

ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.