By Kathryn G. Menu
For over an hour Tuesday morning, visitors to the Sag Harbor Village website, sagharborny.gov, were not greeted by the village’s blue homepage, but rather a six-minute video of Osama Bin Laden and a message that the site had been hacked. KJ-FIDO, who also goes by the name Fahd Al Murar on his Facebook page, claimed responsibility for the cybercrime on behalf of the Web Soldiers Team from the Islamic Electronic Army, which referred to itself on the hijacked website as a part of the Al Qaeda Army.
The village’s website was one of four in Suffolk County Kj-Fido and Fahd Al Murar’s Facebook pages claimed responsibility for, posting mirrors—images of hijacked webpages hackers display as a trophy for their accomplishment—on the social media site.
“USA GOV WEBSITE HACKED,” posted Al Murar shortly after hacking into the village’s website, which displayed the Bin Laden video for roughly a half hour.
Beneath the video image of Osama Bin Laden, the web page read, “KJ-FIDO was here.”
Also posted on the site, the first in a series of hacks on Tuesday, was “The message: We are Muslims. We are many. We are strong. If you touch one person from us we will destroy you, your life, your country, your happiness. We launched this event named #OP_USA and #OP_ISRAEL. Believe me this is the last time you hear something named Israel! Free Palestine. Free Syria. Free Afghanistan. Free Muslims.”
The content, first discovered by Harbor Master Bob Bori around 9:45 a.m., was taken down by 11:20 a.m. and the site restored by 11:40 a.m. At noon, the hacked content returned, but technicians restored the site by 12:30 p.m. without further interruption.
The East End Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center in Riverhead was also hacked, with Kj-Fido claiming responsibility, around 12:30 p.m. the same day. The vet center’s website, pet-er.com, displayed a different message.
“The website is down by web-soldiers team from Islamic Electronic Army(Alqaeda Army),” reads the webpage. “[Please do not close Page] “Sorry admin just message” Freedom to all Muslims everywhere.”
By 1:30 p.m., the page was restored.
Kj-Fido also claimed responsibility for the hacking of the Westhampton Beach-based business, Gentry Contracting Co.’s webpage and for the website of Orange Sewer and Drains in Bay Shore, although both of those sites were functioning normally shortly after the hacker posted mirrors on his Facebook page.
According to Kj-Fido’s Facebook page, he is a part of the management team of Web Soldiers, “a free, safe and legal training ground for hackers, crackers and spammers,” according to that group’s Facebook page. Web Soldiers shared Kj-Fido’s hacks on Tuesday, as well as online reports from sagharboronline.com and 27east.com.
Kj-Fido’s Facebook page under the name Fahd al Murar shared the same content, and lists him as someone who studied at Harvard University and is originally from the United Arab Emirates. He has 2,008 follows on the public page. His real name or current location was not revealed in the numerous posts, many in Arabic.
In a statement made to The Sag Harbor Express via Kj-Fido’s Facebook page, the hacker said he engaged in the hacking as a part of a political effort.
“So message it’s for our freedom,” he wrote, calling for the freedom of Palestine, Syria and the Mujahedeen and stating the U.S. should “stop killing our families.”
“This is just the start,” he wrote. “USA and the fake Isreahell will be destroy it by us, by free hacker, by Muslim hacker, by good people everywhere.”
On Tuesday, Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride confirmed the cyber-attack had occurred, but declined further comment, noting the matter had been turned over to the Sag Harbor Village Police Department.
On Wednesday, Chief Tom Fabiano said he was working with the village’s tech experts to gather as much information as possible, but currently believe the sites were all accessed through a single host server.
“Once I have gathered all this information, I will turn it over to the Suffolk County Computer Crimes Unit,” he added.
On Wednesday, Tim Bishop spokesman Oliver Longwell said he had spoken to both Chief Fabiano and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), who informed him the village should make a report to the federal Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.
Fluid Imagery, an IT company based in Westhampton, that handles both the Sag Harbor Village and the East End Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center accounts was working on the problem immediately, according to Mayor Gilbride.
On Wednesday, Fluid Imagery Owner Scott Hofmann said the hosting company had patched the servers up, and all passwords had been changed.
“The vulnerability has been patched up and the sites are 100-percent secure,” he said.