Terrasse-Vaudreuil municipal website restored following cyber attack Islamic extremist group
The Terrasse-Vaudreuil website is back online and running normally after a cyber attack by an Islamist extremist group called Middle East Cyber Army (MECA) hijacked the town’s domain name and replaced the home page with a propaganda page filled with jihadist rants.
The hack was first discovered just after 9 p.m. on Thursday evening, January 22, by a Your Local Journal (YLJ) journalist who visited the website by chance to being preparing a story on the upcoming inauguration of the town’s new fire hall scheduled for Monday, January 26
After clicking on the link from the Yahoo search engine, a page immediately popped up with flashing words that displayed the message “HACKED BY MECA”. A search from Google produced the same result.
Immediately after the hack was discovered, the reporter contacted Terrasse-Vaudreuil Mayor Michel Bourdeau to inform him of the cyber attack. Bourdeau said the town would look into the situation and try to resolve it as soon as possible. The town finally regained control of its website almost 11 hours later at 8 a.m. this morning.
Bourdeau, who spent the morning fielding queries from media outlets including CJAD and the Off-Island Montreal Gazette which picked up the story soon after it was first posted on the YLJ Facebook page, thanked YLJ for promptly reporting the website breach after it was discovered.
The incident unnerved Bourdeau and Terrasse-Vaudreuil Director General Ron Kelly, who said they had no idea why anyone would want to target its municipal website which serves the town’s 2,000 residents on Île Perrot, just off the southwestern tip from the Island of Montreal on the north side of Highway 20.
“I felt sad about the attack when I saw it online,” said Bourdeau, who added the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) is investigating the incident and treating it as a cyber crime. “Here in Terrasse-Vaudreuil we don’t have any problems with these issues so I was really surprised about it. Right now we’re waiting for the SQ to do their investigation and hopefully we’ll get some answers after that.”
The cyber attack only affected the town’s website and had no impact on its main computer servers that store sensitive municipal information, said Kelley. “Our website server has nothing to do with our town servers,” he said. “We have a private firm that takes care of our website server which is located off-site. It has nothing to do with the service provided by our municipality. There was no confidential information that was compromised.
“I wasn’t happy when I first saw our hacked website,” added Kelley. “You have a feeling of violation. It was very unpleasant to have it on our site and there was a sense of urgency to get if off, but there was no fear of any breach of our municipal infrastructure. You don’t appreciate it but it was easy to take care of, but it’s not something that we or anyone else should take lightly.”
The text on the hacked Terrasse-Vaudreuil website read: MECA – MIDDLE EAST CYBER ARMY – WE ARE MUSLIMS – QURAN IS OUR BOOK – IN ALLAH WE TRUST – FOR ALLAH WE WORK – SCREW YOU Charlie Hebdo – ISLAM IS AND ALWAYS WILL DOMINATE!!! – ISLAM IS THE TRUTH!!! – THAT’S WHY ISLAM IS THE WORLD’S FASTEST GROWING RELIGION!!! – #OPFRANCE.
Scrolling text at the bottom of the page read: THE GREATEST – AnaCoNdA – kh.mar.404 – RebelGhost DX – Scream4.0.4 – Silent Killer – Hamooda El Bess – & ALL MUSLIMS. Arabic prayer music was played in the background.
Thousands of websites throughout France have been recently hacked by MECA following an attack by Islamic extremists on January 7 that killed 12 Charlie Hebdo staff members in Paris after the satirical magazine published a front page cartoon that denigrated the Muslim prophet Mohammed. MECA has also hacked some websites in the United States.