FARMINGVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — One of the largest townships in New York state is the target of a disturbing hack.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, a link within the Brookhaven town website displayed a pro-ISIS message. Dozens of other government sites across the country were also hacked.
Brookhaven Town Hall is the center of local government for half a million Long Islanders, 60 miles from New York City, and a world away from ISIS strongholds. But on the town web server, pro-ISIS propaganda suddenly appeared.
“Whether this was a prank, whether this was a home-grown terrorist, whether this was ISIS from abroad, we don’t know,” said Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine. “It’s concerning.”
The image, with a call to prayer heard in the background, featured a sinister message: “You will be held accountable Trump, you and all your people, for every drop of blood flowing in Muslim countries. I love Islamic State.”
“We were told 76 sites were hit, so 76 sites were out there trying to broadcasting tis hateful propaganda,” said Brookhaven Deputy Town Supervisor Dan Panico.
Government websites in Maryland, Louisiana, and Ohio – including the web page of Gov. John Kasich – were also hacked.
Claiming credit was an entity calling itself Team System DZ, which has a Facebook page and a history of cyberattacks. Whether or not it is genuinely related to ISIS, town resident said it brings the conflict to their doorstep.
“We’re living in a sick world right now,” one woman said.
“It’s pretty remarkable that a murderous organization can infiltrate government so easily,” said Brookhaven town resident Kevin Kirk.
“Now it makes it real,” said Brookhaven town resident Greg Brown. “We watch it on the news all the time. Now it’s here.”
Suffolk County police are investigating, in contact with the FBI. Meantime, the website is shut down and the server quarantined.
While President Donald Trump won big in Brookhaven, town officials do not think they were targeted for any reason. Romaine said all of America is at risk when you can cyberhack government.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) also called for action, urging the Department of Homeland Security to launch a federal investigation.
“A DHS-led investigation can help determine the true culprits of the Brookhaven cyberattack and determine whether this was a malicious act,” Schumer wrote. “The possibility that these breaches were done by an ISIS or terror-affiliated organization is especially troublesome; citizens deserve to feel like their everyday critical infrastructure, especial their local government’s website are safe and usable. This is a necessary measure that will provide critical security to our citizens and to a local government and will help to strengthen our cyber defenses.”