herald

Monday 20 August 2018

Hackers steal voters' data in Fine Gael website raid

TARGET: Party forced off-line as attackers claim posts were censored

INTERNET hackers have stolen the private contact details of thousands of voters from the Fine Gael website.

A group that regularly targets the Church of Scientology claimed responsibility for a malicious attack on Enda Kenny's much-heralded "conversation" last night.

'Anonymous' said it defaced the website because Fine Gael was being "terribly dishonest" and censoring comments from the public.

As proof, it issued the media with a database that includes the personal details of nearly 4,000 people who posted on the site.

In a statement, Anonymous said that Fine Gael were "a bunch of lying, deceitful conmen . . . We know as well as everyone else that all you people are interested in is your own back pocket."

The database suggests that the Party had censored comments posted as part of what they had called the "biggest consultation" ever undertaken with the electorate.

Several posts calling on Fine Gael to "get rid" of Enda Kenny as leader never made it onto the website. The information also confirmed that Green TD Paul Gogarty was among those who commented on the site.

The hackers managed to access the names, email, phone numbers, constituency and the location from where they viewed the website.

The Data Protection Commissioner is now expected to launch an investigation.

Initially, Fine Gael moved to reassure the public that "the integrity of all the data collected is still intact and was not accessed at any point by this outside entity".

The original site was based around a video of Mr Kenny with the key message 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!"

The Anonymous Group is well-known for its online assaults which have been aimed at the Church of Scientology and anti-Wikileaks websites.

As a result of the attack, Fine Gael was forced to remove the website and visitors are now presented with a holding page.

Webmasters confirmed the attack took place yesterday evening "by an entity from outside of Ireland called the Anonymous Group".

A Fine Gael spokesman told the Herald that they would be contacting everybody named on the database.

"We are dealing with an ongoing situation and have been in contact with the Data Protection Commissioner."

kdoyle@herald.ie

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