After the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks by the police on Friday – a 27-year-old black man who fell asleep in a fast-food driveway in Atlanta and was shot while trying to flee the police trying to insult him – shot himself Hackers connected to the anonymous The hacktivist collective may have temporarily closed the city police website.
According to the Atlanta Journal constitution, the APD's website was down for about three hours on Sunday morning.
The AJC reports that the failure occurred around 8:30 a.m. after an announcement of a Twitter account with the Anonymous USA brand.
Of course, the connection between an Anonymous brand warning and a failure can be a simple accident. We don't know what really destroyed the website. It could have been hacktivists who triggered a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, a rush of web traffic that flooded the site after another police murder, or something as simple as a server failure.
As was the case before Black Lives Matter (BLM) revived the protest-related social media interest in Anonymous these days, the statement that "Anonymous" did not say much. As the anonymous USA account explains:
#Anonymous is not a group, not an organization. Anonymous is an idea. Everyone can join us. There is no official account.
Regardless of how amorphous the anonymous "idea" is and how dubious it is to pay tribute to the hacktivist group, this may not be the first strike by hackers associated with Anonymous who have sympathy for the BLM movement.
On May 25, George Floyd's murder during his detention with the Minneapolis police triggered nationwide protests and outrage. Three days later, anonymous hackers released a video that threatened to expose "the many crimes" by the Minneapolis police.
The following Saturday, the PD location in Minneapolis and the location of the mother city of Minneapolis apparently suffered a DDos attack that sporadically continued at least until Sunday morning.
As Variety reported at the time, the Twitter account @LatestAnonNews, which is said to be operated by "several Anons", did not explicitly acknowledge the Minneapolis outages. However, posts have been retweeted that link Anonymous to BLM and #GeorgeFloydProtests.
Immediately after Floyd's assassination, when the first protests focused on Minneapolis, Minnesota governor Tim Walz claimed that state networks were exposed to "a very sophisticated denial of service attack on all state computers". However, such attacks do not require a lot of skill and can be started simply by pressing a button or simply by renting from a DDoS for hire service.
In any case, following the murder of Rayshard Brooks on Friday, anonymous hackers – or maybe hackers who sympathize with BLM, or hackers who take advantage of the climate of anger – have drawn their attention to the Atlanta Police Department (APD) website. .
A Wendy restaurant employee had called the police after Brooks fell asleep on a thoroughfare, blocked other drivers, and forced them to drive around his car.
An exchange between the responding police and Brooks escalated. The police tried and failed to berate Brooks, but he grabbed the taser, ran, and fired at the pursuing officers. (If you're curious about how effective a taser is when you're not close to your target, a vendor's frequently asked questions explain that a taser shoots 15 feet for end users, while tasers for police officers can shoot over 30 feet to disable a target.)
An officer shot two shots in Brooks back. A medical examiner considered the shootout to be murder and the officer believed to be responsible was released. At the weekend, Brooks’s death in Atlanta sparked renewed protests against racism and police brutality triggered by Floyd’s death weeks earlier.
Zak Doffman – founder and CEO of Digital Barriers, who is developing advanced surveillance for defense, national security, and counter-terrorism – wrote for Forbes a detailed article on the problem of attribution when it comes to anonymity and what could or might not be the responsibility of members for the DDoSes opposite the locations of the two police stations.
Doffman said the attack was "embarrassing" for Atlanta since it came through the city two years after buying $ 2.6 million emergency contracts to recover its systems after a SamSam ransomware attack the city was brought to its knees and years of police officers had destroyed the dash cam video.
On Monday June 15th I was able to access www.atlantapd.org. At least earlier in the day, Doffman said that the only way he can get through using a VPN through a U.S. server is because the site doesn't accept connections from outside the U.S. This suggests that an attack may have come from outside the country, he said:
Attributing such an action to Anonymous is impossible due to the nature of the loosely connected organization. Since self-styled members can essentially subscribe to the matter simply by saying that they are doing so, all actions alleged by an anonymous partner are largely attributed. The fact that the Atlanta PD website has limited access suggests that an attack may have occurred from outside the United States.
He said there were other anonymous allegations after the MPD attack, including those related to interference with police radio systems. The Associated Press, citing an June 1 assessment by the Department of Homeland Security, reported that during a May 31 protest in Dallas, "unknown actors" had interfered with the police's unencrypted radio frequency with music.
As The Hill reports, some law enforcement agencies have switched to encrypted communications, noting that criminals do not have to listen to police radio channels through phone apps – a move that has been criticized by media that may hide public safety information from the public.