Ohio government sites hacked with pro-Islamic State message

The sites were defaced with a message threatening President Donald Trump.

Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins
2 min read
Ahmad Al-rubaye / AFP/Getty Images

Government websites in the state of Ohio on Sunday were defaced with pro-Islamic State messages.

The hacked websites displayed a message, purportedly from IS supporters, against a black-and-white background reminiscent of the IS flag.

The website of Ohio Governor John Kasich was one of the targets of the attacks, and it was reportedly down for maintenance for some time on Sunday before coming back online. A picture of the message was posted by Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel.

"You will be held accountable Trump, you and all your people for every drop of blood flowing in Muslim countries," said the message, which also included a call to prayer and finished: "I love Islamic state."

Defacing of websites has long been a tactic for hackers looking to make a political statement, or simply to assert their ability to do so. It was a common practice for, among others, hacktivists known collectively as Anonymous to protest things like cybersecurity legislation or human rights abuses, or sometimes in a blending of moralizing and mischief-making. The Islamic State and other terrorist groups, meanwhile, have used social media for recruiting, communications and other activities.

Other affected websites included the Ohio Office of Health Transformation, the Ohio Department of Medicaid, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, the Ohio Inspector General and the website belonging to Ohio first lady Karen Kasich.

"All affected servers have been taken offline and we are investigating how these hackers were able to deface these websites," Tom Hoyt, chief communications officer for Ohio's Department of Administrative Services, told CBS News. "We also are working with law enforcement to better understand what happened."

Representatives for Gov. Kasich didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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