Hackers have made the St. Louis County Police their new target. The police department's website has been offline since Wednesday and continued to be down on Thursday. The police have confirmed to several news outlets that they are under "some sort of cyber-attack" and their e-mail has also been down.
Presumably, the hackers involved in this distributed-denial-of-service attack are protesting the St. Louis County Police's involvement in the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the demonstrations that have ensued.
Brown was shot multiple times by a local police officer on Saturday. The shooting happened around 1:40 p.m. and Brown's body was left on the sidewalk for hours afterward. In the wake of the shooting, police have declined to name the officer involved.
The Ferguson police have since been accused of racism and become the focus of intense criticism and violent protests.
On Wednesday, a group claiming to be affiliated with Anonymous announced it had hacked the St. Louis County Police to get dispatch tapes from the day of the shooting. The group released alleged details from police dispatch calls on its @TheAnonMessage Twitter account and posted hours of tape to YouTube.
Then, earlier on Thursday, the group said it found the name of the officer involved and tweeted out the name of a man. The St. Louis County Police quickly tweeted back that the person identified "is not even an officer with Ferguson or St. Louis County PD. Do not release more info on this random citizen."
Since this incident, the @TheAnonMessage Twitter account has been suspended. When CNET contacted Twitter for more information, a company spokesperson said, "We don't comment on individual accounts."
The back-and-forth between the hackers and police shows how quickly protests and strife can be taken from the streets to the Internet.