Militants Mar Web Site

BLYTHEWOOD – The Town of Blythewood’s Web site was defaced over the weekend by ‘The Syrian Electronic Army,’ according to John Perry, Town Administrator. Perry said Mayor J. Michael Ross was called Sunday morning by the S.C. State Security Operations (SCSSO), which reported that the Town’s Web site had been compromised.

Ross reported at Monday night’s Town Council meeting that he thought the call was a prank and went online to the Web site to see for himself.

“It was awful,” Ross said. “It was a lot of Islamic-militant stuff, anti-Western civilization and anti-America. It was real.”

Immediate execution of the Town’s Information Technology (IT) Incident Response Plan resulted in only a momentary defacing, not a ‘hacking,’ according to Perry. The FBI explained to Ross that hacking occurs when a cyber-intruder covertly gains access to a site and steals information from it. That did not happen in this case. Ross said when he went to the Web site he was redirected to a YouTube video.

Ross said it took less than 15 minutes for the problem to be corrected – the Web page was taken offline, purged and re-established.

Perry said he wanted all who frequent the Town’s Web site to know that it is not hosted on the Town’s servers and that only public information is contained on the site.

“Please take note,” Perry said, “that absolutely no privileged information is stored on or entered through the Web site at any time. Through the wholesale cooperation and teamwork of the Town’s IT department, Richland County Sheriff’s Department, SCSSO, S.C. Law Enforcement Division and the FBI, valuable data has been secured to assist in pinpointing the methods used by the violators.”

The Town’s Web site, www.townofblythewoodsc.gov, is now back to full normal operation.

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