New Documents Show Cyber Hackers Struck Baltimore Days After Riots

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In the midst of a citywide curfew in the days after the riots, cyber hackers strike Baltimore. An attack shuts down the city website for nearly a day, adding to the mass confusion.

Christie Ileto with more.

In the days leading up to the riots, there were warnings this could happen. It eventually forced a shutdown of the city’s website for several hours.

As protests swept the city in the wake of the April riots, the city’s website was under attack–a problem revealed in more than 7,000 email exchanges the city released this week.

The site was down for more than 16 hours in which there were several cyber attacks. At one point, the FBI warning employees: “Do not open emails with the subject ‘Baltimore Riots.'”

“They know people want to know what’s going on. So that’s a malicious attack, and I’d be very careful of any email around the world that you don’t know who it’s come from,” said Gary Buclous, Infoworks Technologies.

Around the same time, the group Anonymous–a notorious network of activist hackers–posted a YouTube video titled “Operation Baltimore.”

The city says none of the cyber attacks impacted the main function of the website or the system-wide email.

“Not only do we have chaos and inter-agencies not sure how they are supposed to work together, but also our IT, our cyber, is going down again because pretty much we’re unprepared,” said Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes, District 12.

The same vulnerability that exposed the feds to its biggest ever cyber attack around the same time as Baltimore’s breach.

Ileto: “Do you think the city is prepared for another?”

Stokes: “No. I don’t know that the city can ever be totally prepared or shielded against such a thing.”

But it’s something the city’s IT department is working to address.

The city would not go into detail about what types of improvements they’re making to the website.

City servers in Ferguson, Missouri saw a similar cyber attack during unrest following the death of unarmed teen Michael Brown.

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