BALTIMORE (WJZ) — One Maryland county was among the government websites across the country that were shut down for hours after being hacked with anti-President Trump and pro-Islamic State messages.
At least three states were hit in this cyber breach Sunday, and Howard County Government was one of those attacked, though they had their website back up and running by Monday morning
Their website was in the hands of hackers for hours, and they’re now calling this a criminal investigation.
Officials say there was no breach of data, and no personal information was compromised during the hack.
What appeared to be pro-ISIS propaganda was the threatening message that was blasted out nationwide, front and center on some government websites.
“Unfortunately, it’s a problem that doesn’t seem to be going away,” said Markus Rauschecker, cyber security program manager, for the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security.
The breach hit hard in multiple states, including Maryland, where Howard County was hit.
A group calling itself “Team System DZ” took took over the website and posted, “You will be held accountable Trump, you and all your people for every drop of blood flowing in Muslim countries.”
“I Love Islamic state.”
The hackers hit websites in Ohio, including Governor John Kasich and his wife, along with the Ohio casino control commission.
Websites in Brookhaven, New York were also taken over.
Some call the hack simply a nuisance that interrupts government work, but others say it raises major concerns.
“Unfortunately, a lot of these terror organizations are going to the internet, trying to spread their message,” Rauschecker said. “The really concerning part is when these hackers are able to get into critical data, into the networks, and steal critical personal information.”
Rauschecker says hacks like this are the new norm, but the key is to have plans in place and the ability to respond quickly.
“To have a good comprehensive plan to start responding to incidents like this and how to get back up and running as quick as possible,” Rauschecker said.
“We see these cyber incidents on a daily basis and they’re not going away anytime soon.”
Baltimore’s FBI division is ready to assist Howard County police in the investigation if needed.
According to the Washington Post, the System DZ hacks typically take place on weekends and target small government websites.