The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Kansas Sheriff’s Association were among 70 law enforcement websites recently hacked by the hackers collective known as Anonymous.
It’s unclear if any sensitive or confidential information was obtained from the Jefferson County website, said Sheriff Jeff Harrig.
“We don’t know,” said Harrig, expressing concern about the possibility that some of the leaked data could affect a case.
Sandy Horton, director of the Kansas Sheriff’s Association, said her group’s website does not contain any sensitive or personal information.
Both Harrig and Horton said the hacking caused problems with their websites, and they’ve been working on fixing any issues.
No other local law enforcement agencies were reportedly affected by the hacking, which is being investigated by the FBI.
The hackers posted 10 gigabytes worth of data — including credit card numbers, confidential emails, and other personal information — from law enforcement websites in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Mississippi.
The hackers collective Anonymous said Saturday that it attacked 70 mostly rural law enforcement websites in the U.S. in retaliation for the arrests of some of its sympathizers.
Many of the leaked emails appeared to be benign, but some of the stolen material contained sensitive information, including tips about suspected crimes, profiles of gang members and security training, according to the Associated Press.
Anonymous may have gone after the sheriff’s office because the hosting company — Little Rock-based Brooks-Jeffrey Marketing — was an easy target, said Dick Mackey, vice president of consulting at Sudbury, Mass.-based SystemExperts.
Mackey said many organizations don’t see themselves as potential targets for international hackers, causing indifference that can leave them vulnerable, he said.
“It seems to me to be low-hanging fruit,” he said. “If you want to go after someone and make a point and want to have their defenses be low, go after someone who doesn’t consider themselves a target.