The South African police’s website was hacked… and they didn’t even know it


The latest major victim of a malicious online attack? That would be the South African Police Service. According to a report by eNCA, the country’s police website was hacked on Friday, with the attackers publishing the names and contact details of anonymous tipsters who have been informing the police of crimes since 2005.

The Anonymous-affiliate who has claimed responsibility for the attack, who goes by the Twitter handle ‘@DomainerAnon‘, says the move was motivated in response to death of striking miners at the hands of police in August 2012. The attacker has hosted the landline and cellphone numbers, email addresses and identity numbers of over 15 700 members of the public who used the site, as well as the usernames and passwords of 40 police personnel. A file allegedly containing police emails has already been downloaded some 545 times.

All of this seemingly went unnoticed by the police service, who told eNCA on Monday that they “have not been hacked”. “There’s no such – our website is operating normal, we don’t have a problem with our website and they never experienced any problems,” said spokesperson Phuti Setati, who later said he would like to “reserve comment” after being provided with proof of the hack by the news organisation.

The reported hacker hasn’t explained why the attack was orchestrated now, almost a year after the events at Marikana, at the same time a commission is investigating the violence. He was questioned by South African Twitter users about why he chose to release sensitive information about people who tried to anonymously report often serious crimes, which could hurt the public more than the police. He initially seemed unaware of the fact that he had released the information of innocent members of the public, saying “no whistleblowers were exposed”. He later responded that “We protest how we can… when we can” and said government “departments have a duty of care…. and they were negligent”.

The attack on the South African Police Service’s website isn’t the hacker’s only recent target. A day before the hack, he also released the usernames and passwords for users of the Bangladesh Post Office’s website on a publicly available site. It was a hack he says was done “just coz its a REALLY shitty website”.



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