Hacker group hits McMinn County Sheriff's Office
ATHENS, McMINN COUNTY (WRCB) – McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy says his agency is one of the latest victims of a cyber-attack.
In a statement released Monday, Sheriff Guy said the hacker group "AntiSec" struck the McMinn County Sheriff's Office website through the department's website host, Arkansas-based Brooks-Jefferies Marketing.
"It is a cause of concern," said Sheriff Guy. "So far we've seen some of our old email passwords, some department emails and some other old information that hackers were able to get from our website provider. It just proves the fact that any person, any business, and any government agency can be the victim of a cyber-attack."
Sheriff Guy said the group is also been implicated in hacking Apple Computers websites, military sites, and an FBI contractor website.
Sheriff Guy said that since most of his office's website information was public anyway, it was more of an inconvenience than a concern. But department emails were something else.
The group, AntiSec, is reportedly a cell of the larger, loosely-affiliated hacker organization known as "Anonymous". The AntiSec team released a 10 gigabyte file containing information on approximately 70 law enforcement agencies across the United States.
"It's been said time and time again that no email system is 100% secure," said Sheriff Guy. "But most of us become so comfortable using email to communicate that we forget to be careful in what we type. But once the information, whether it be text or pictures, goes out on the internet, it's up for grabs to anyone who knows how to get to it."
Sheriff Guy said that his office is reviewing what it can do to reduce the chances of cyber-attacks in the future. "We've taken the opportunity to get our staff's attention, and to review our policies on using department email for administrative purposes only. We may even get away from a website provider and just build and manage our own site. If we are not part of a larger web provider, there might be less of a chance of getting our information hacked."
"But we also want the public to take note: if this can happen to a law enforcement agency, it can happen to anyone. No one should send anything on an email that they wouldn't want the whole world to see."