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Hackers deface Boston police website

By Denise Lavoie
AP Legal Affairs Writer / February 3, 2012
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BOSTON—The hacking collective Anonymous claimed credit for defacing the Boston Police Department's website Friday, calling the cyber attack retaliation for the police handling of the Occupy Boston protest.

A message on the department's website posted before police took the site down said, "Anonymous Hacks Boston Police Website in Retaliation for Police Brutality at OWS," an apparent reference to Occupy Wall Street.

Police were still working to restore the site late Friday afternoon. Meanwhile, the link was being redirected temporarily to the department's Facebook page. A police spokeswoman said she could not confirm Anonymous was responsible for the hack.

"It is unfortunate that someone would go to this extent to compromise BPDNews.com, a helpful and informative public safety resource utilized daily by community members seeking up-to-date news and information about important safety matters," police said in a statement.

Occupy Boston, an outgrowth of the Occupy Wall Street movement, set up camp in the city's financial district for two months this fall.

The message posted by the group calling itself Anonymous said Boston police had been hacked several months ago and that hundreds of passwords were released in retaliation for what it characterized as brutality against Occupy Boston.

In October, Boston police acknowledged that various websites used by members of the police department -- including the website belonging to the police patrolmen's association -- had been hacked and possibly compromised. The department said it had asked all department personnel to change their passwords on the police department's network.

The first hack came about 10 days after Boston police arrested 141 Occupy Boston demonstrators on Oct. 11. Police said the arrests came after the demonstrators expanded their protest into an area they did not have permission to be in and refused to leave.

Police dismantled the Occupy Boston camp Dec. 10, citing public health and safety concerns.

"They clearly ignored our warnings," the message on the department's website said Friday.

"So you get your kicks beating protesters? ... "That's OK; we get kicks defacing ... your websites -- again."

Police denied mistreating protesters.

Anonymous is a collection of Internet enthusiasts, pranksters and activists whose targets have included Visa and MasterCard, the Church of Scientology and law enforcement agencies.

Several other law enforcement agencies worldwide were also the victims of hackers.

Hackers in Utah gained access this week to sensitive date, including citizen complaints about drug crimes, including phone numbers, addresses and other personal information, police said.

The attacks came after Anonymous published a recording of a phone call between the FBI and Scotland Yard Wednesday, gloating in a Twitter message that "the FBI might be curious how we're able to continuously read their internal comms for some time now."

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