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A number of seemingly unconnected Western websites were hacked over the weekend, with messages claiming Islamic State as the perpetrator.
International Business Times reports that the FBI is investigating the hacks, but law enforcement and security analysts are said to be skeptical of any genuine link to the ISIS terror group.
Affected sites were hit with a black ISIS flag with the words “Hacked by ISIS, we are everywhere”, with a flash audio plug-in playing a song in Arabic, reports The Huffington Post.
Sites affected were diverse and seemingly unrelated, except with the content of the hack. The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, Eldora Speedway, MERS Goodwill and digital agency Elasticity from St. Louis, Moerlein Lager House and Montgomery Inn in Cleveland, Montauk Mano, Sequoia Park Zoo, North Douglas Pentecostal Church, and a couple of bars in Massachusetts and Minnesota were all hit with similar hacking messages, according to NBC News.
“The FBI is aware of the reported incidents and is contacting the impacted parties,” the agency said. However, speaking to NBC News, Evan Kohlmann of Flashpoint Intelligence suggested there was not much reason to believe the claimed affiliation, and that it’s more likely to be a way of attracting more attention than a less eye-catching hack would.
“There are no indications that the individuals behind these latest hacks have any real connection to ISIS, and these defacements have taken place amid a spate of recent attacks where ordinary hackers have cynically used far-fetched references to ISIS as a means of attracting media attention,” opined Kohlmann.
Local law enforcement seemed equally skeptical, with Silver Bow County Sheriff Ed Lester telling a local NBC station KTVM, “I don’t think ISIS agents would be interested in a hack like this. I think this is more likely a domestic hacker rather than international cyberterrorism.”
Authorities do not believe that any data was stolen with any of the hacks.
Author Alan Martin, ESET