City website compromised by hackers claiming to be ISIS

Updated: Nov. 16, 2017 at 7:18 PM EST
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This is the message on (Source: City of Glenview website)
This is the message on (Source: City of Glenview website)
UofL Professor Adrian Lauf is a cyber security expert. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
UofL Professor Adrian Lauf is a cyber security expert. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A post on the City of Glenview website has a threatening message claiming to be from hackers affiliated with the Islamic State.

The message claims to be posted from the Islamic State in March and is threatening in nature.

Glenview is a small city in eastern Jefferson County, within Metro Louisville.

Cyber security expert and Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville, Adrian Lauf, said it's hard to tell just by looking at the website who is responsible for the hack.

"It could really be anybody," he said. "It doesn't seem like any real damage was done to the site other than a defacement."

Lauf said the hack was likely the result of a script (computer coding) built to search for weak spots in a website.

"Very likely what happened is an automated script was scanning around through a whole list of internet addresses," Lauf explained. "They're a commonplace attack. The easiest way to avoid them is to have your websites patched. A patch is a process by which we discover and identify errors and then fix them."

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Lauf said it's important to update program software and run vulnerability tests if people are responsible for a website that is self-operated. Website services like WordPress and Wix typically provide this service.

"It's all about reducing your attack surface area," he said. "The smaller you make it, the less likely an automated script is going to flag you and say this a compromised site."

Glenview Mayor Tom Heibleib sent the following statement:

"Glenview did not post or authorize the March 17, 2017 posting under City Business entitled "Hacked by Hackers IS." We will correct this in due course. I don't know whether this was the work of ISIS or someone else. The posting asserts that they "own many sensitive and high classified documents, a lot of confidential information of your local police members, soldiers and US military members and a lot of other sensitive information." If they're searching for that sort of information on the Glenview website, they're destined for disappointment."

The FBI declined to comment on the hack and said they do not confirm or deny the investigation.

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