By Anne Desantelle
The small town of Terrasse-Vaudreuil received plenty of media attention late last week after their website was hacked by a self-proclaimed terrorist group MECA (Middle East Cyber Army). For those who visited the site before administration got things under control, the threatening words and tinny Middle-Eastern music were as unnerving as they were confusing.
Terrasse-Vaudreuil is home to fewer than 2,000 residents and is usually in the news for trouble at the rail tracks that hem in the municipality. The mayor and administrators could not guess as to why they were chosen for such an attack.
The hacked website contained the phrases: “Screw you Charlie Hebdo” and “Islam is and always will dominate.”
Almost immediately, cameras were to be seen outside Terrasse-Vaudreuil town hall. Local residents turned to Facebook to spread the news and guess at what it all could mean. Even early on, those who saw the website before it was returned to normal could not tell if it was a legitimate threat or a juvenile prank.
Over the weekend, a note was posted to the website stating that citizens had nothing to be concerned about and noted as well that sensitive information is housed on a separate server.
City manager Ron Kelley confirmed Monday that the file has been transferred to the appropriate SQ unit.
“We met with the SQ and opened up the dossier and everything was transferred over to their cyber-crimes division.” he said. “They are investigating.”
A Sûreté du Québec spokesperson for Montérégie explained that no details are available as the investigation is ongoing.
“We can’t provide many details as we do not want to damage the investigation,” said Sgt. Joyce Kemp. “However, it is moving forward and some digital analysis has been undertaken.”
Kemp was not able to confirm how long it would take the team of specialists to find the source of the hack and potentially make arrests.
“They are people who work specifically in the domain. It’s an investigative unit.” she said, adding that the investigators are not available to discuss the file.
She also could not comment on whether or not the SQ will be working with municipalities to assist with better online protection.
Citizens concerned with their own online safety can find information on Cybercriminalité page of the SQ website. Any suspicious activity should be reported to the police immediately.
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