Hackers claim responsibility for cyberattack on city of Ottawa website
Ottawa City Hall
Jesse Tahirali, CTVNews.ca
Published Saturday, November 22, 2014 9:25PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, November 22, 2014 11:14PM EST
A group of hackers is claiming responsibility for an apparent cyberattack on the city of Ottawa’s website that prompted city officials to temporarily shut the site down altogether.
City workers shut down Ottawa.ca after an illustration of a banana appeared on the site Friday along with a cryptic message directed at an Ottawa police officer. The website was restored by Saturday afternoon.
The Ottawa Police Services website was also forced offline Saturday.
On Twitter, a user by the name of Aerith spoke openly about the disruption he purported to have caused.
Aerith, who identified as a male from Turkey, told CTVNews.ca in an email Saturday that he defaced Ottawa.ca to “piss people off” and to “show a message.”
Aerith said he and two others targeted the website to draw attention to a case in which a 16-year-old Ottawa teen was arrested for “swatting” – the act of falsely reporting serious crimes resulting in the deployment of a SWAT team.
Aerith claimed to have proof that the officer named in the message “manufactured evidence” in the case. Aerith also said that the cyberattacks his group was carrying out was part of a broader action he called Operation Soaring Eagle.
“Operation Soaring Eagle is a message to police, if you try to frame someone, if you try to accuse them of something, and you have nothing to back those claims up, we will be after you,” Aerith wrote in the email.
The group also claimed responsibility for a disruption on the Ottawa Police Service’s site Saturday.
OttawaPolice.ca appeared to have gone down shortly after 6 p.m. EST, resulting in the website failing to load for those attempting to access it.
At about 10 p.m., Ottawa Police acknowledged the disruption on Twitter, but didn’t address the cause.
“We are working to resolve the service issues affecting ottawapolice.ca. Our systems remain secure,” police tweeted from their official account.
Meanwhile, Aerith said his group is planning to continue their efforts.
Ottawa Police did not immediately return calls seeking comment on Saturday night.