herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

Gardai get FBI's help to hunt FG website hackers

Probe: Investigators ask for access to Herald computers for analysis of 'Anonymous' email

SPECIALIST gardai and the FBI believe they will be able to trace the hackers who stole a database from the Fine Gael website.

Experts are set to analyse a number of computers in an effort to "triangulate" the location of the hackers.

The website was still offline today after the personal details of around 2,000 people were stolen by a group claiming links with the WikiLeaks sympathisers Anonymous.

The FBI has now become involved after the American internet firm ElectionMall, which hosted the website, contacted US police.

Fine Gael has not yet had any contact from the high-level body but it is likely that they will co-ordinate the investigation with the Garda Computer Crimes Investigation Unit.

A source told the Herald: "What they [hackers] tend to do is to bounce their email through a series of IP addresses.

"The experts will try to triangulate the location from where the messages were sent."

Gardai have asked for access to Herald computers which were used to view an email from the hackers that included an attachment with the Fine Gael database.

As well as the criminal investigations, the Data Protection Commissioner is in communication with the opposition party.

They are understood to be particularly concerned that the private political views of contributors to the website have been compromised.



Addresses

The information sent to the Herald and some other media outlets also included voters' email addresses, phone numbers, IP addresses and constituencies.

Fine Gael has contacted all of those affected to explain that their newly revamped site had been "professionally hacked".

The attack occurred between 8pm and midnight on Sunday and the party had initially said that no personal information had been compromised.

In their email to the Herald, the hackers called Fine Gael "a bunch of lying, deceitful conmen".

They accused the opposition party of censoring comments on the site, "which we thought was terribly dishonest".

But Fine Gael said: "This group has been associated with the WikiLeaks investigation and attacks on companies such as Visa, Mastercard and Amazon."

Officials described the incident as a "hacking crime" and said: "We will keep you posted on this situation and we look forward to be back online as soon as possible."



Coffee

The site was launched last Tuesday and centred around a video of Enda Kenny in a Dublin coffee shop.

The key message was that "one of the big failing of politicians is that they talk too much and don't listen enough".

However, the page's title was changed to read: "The problem with politicians is they lie."

The website then said: "Nothing is safe, you put your faith in this political party and they take no measures to protect you.

"They offer you free speech yet they censor your voice. WAKE UP!"

kdoyle@herald.ie

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