Most sheriff’s offices unaware of hacks

Published 1:03 am Sunday, August 7, 2011

All but one of the Mississippi and Louisiana sheriff’s offices on a hackers’ list appeared unaware that their websites were down Saturday, let alone that any sensitive information on those sites might have been published online.

At least seven sheriff’s offices in Mississippi and one in Louisiana were among about 70 law enforcement websites that the group called Anonymous said Saturday that it had hacked, stealing data in retaliation for arrests of its sympathizers in the U.S. and Britain.

But Tishomingo County, Miss., was the only one of those eight where someone on duty when The Associated Press called Saturday even knew the website was down. The person also knew about the hacking allegations.

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In Jefferson County, Sheriff Peter E. Walker said he had no knowledge about any hacking. “As soon as we’re back up and rolling on Monday, if something happened we’ll be aware of it,” he said.

Websites for sheriff’s offices in in Cameron Parish, La., and Adams, George, Prentiss, Tate and Tunica counties in Mississippi were among those on the group’s list that were not working Saturday.

In Tishomingo County, Edric Parish said the sheriff’s office’s information technology director was aware of the problem. “They immediately shut it down — the actual host — until they got the problem resolved. The FBI is aware of it and is working on it,” he said.

The website’s host, Brooks-Jeffrey Marketing Inc., would have to answer any other questions, including those about what information was in the site’s database for Tishomingo County, he said.

Brooks-Jeffrey told The Associated Press in Little Rock, Ark., that it would not comment.

The hacking group claimed that the stolen data included emails, credit card details and other information from local law enforcement bodies.

“We are releasing a massive amount of confidential information that is sure to (embarrass), discredit and incriminate police officers across the US,” the group said in a statement, adding that it hoped the leak would “demonstrate the inherently corrupt nature of law enforcement using their own words” and “disrupt and sabotage their ability to communicate and terrorize communities.”

In Cameron Parish, Deputy James Cox said the sheriff’s office website held only general information about the department, such as officials’ names and phone numbers.

Other Mississippi sheriff’s offices had no immediate comment.

Yancy Guerin, chief investigator for the coroner’s office in West Baton Rouge Parish, La. said a friend had just asked him Saturday morning how hard it would be. “I guess we know now,” he said.

He said his office doesn’t use an outside web host. “We back up and we keep everything in-house at the coroner’s office,” he said.


Associated Press reporter Nomaan Merchant in Little Rock contributed to this report.