Visitors to the Crook County Sheriff's Office website were greeted with an unusual and concerning display Sunday.
Instead of finding the usual law enforcement home page, they found a screen with an Iranian flag, a Guy Fawkes mask synonymous with government web hacking incidents and a message claiming the site had been hacked by Iranian hackers.
"Hacked by Mamad Warning," it read.
Sheriff's office personnel posted a message on its Facebook page on Sunday after fielding multiple calls and messages asking about the hack, assuring people that they were aware of the situation and that no sensitive law enforcement information had been compromised.
"We don't know who is responsible for it," Crook County Undersheriff James Savage said Monday morning, noting that the hack appears to have only affected the CCSO home page.
Levi Roberts, Crook County GIS manager said the IT department is still running reports but determined that the unidentified hacker took advantage of some vulnerabilities on the county website.
"We use an open source software for our website," he explained. "From what I can tell, we have an older version and we haven't updated the version in a while. Apparently, there are some vulnerabilities with the current version we have and that basically got exploited by some random person."
Roberts said he spent much of Sunday dealing with the situation and by Monday, the department had backed up the website to a month and a half earlier. Now, content will be reposted to ensure that the website is once again up to date.
"Besides that, it will just be a little bit of time with the maintenance making sure we are updated and making sure it (the website hack) happens again," he said.
Roberts went on to confirm that the website hack did not put any critical information at risk. Such information is on the county network, which he said is much more secure.
"It is an interesting situation because there is basically nothing to gain from what they did other than maybe a little notoriety," he said of the hack. "There isn't any information there that isn't already publicly available."
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It costs just a few cents a day.)