Hackers attack Berrien County website

Published 10:06 pm Thursday, April 19, 2012

Computer hackers gained access to the Berrien County website Sunday and executed a plan the hackers called, “SSS = Shoot the Sheriff Sunday.”

Anonymous IRC — the name of the hackers’ group — placed material on the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department website, including profanity and the group’s views toward government agencies.

Authorities learned of the cyber attack Sunday and quickly shut down the website.

Berrien County Undersheriff Chuck Heit said the county network was not compromised and no personal information was obtained by the group beyond what was available on the Berrien County website and the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department website.

Both websites are stored off site by an independent company and are separate from the county network, where personal information is kept.

“The information they gained access to is all public information,” he said.

The Berrien County website was back up and running Tuesday and the sheriff’s department’s website was back online Wednesday afternoon. Heit said the company in charge of running both websites is taking measures to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI office in St. Joseph are investigating.

Heit said they have no suspects yet.

“These guys are very talented according to our I.S. director,” Heit said.

“The history is they are very good at covering their tracks, which makes it difficult, but we will continue to investigate.”

Heit said the group has a history of hacking into the websites of other government agencies.

The hackers gained access to password information for a select few county employees who had access to update and make changes to the website.  Those passwords have been changed, Heit said.