Sacramento IT officials respond to cyberthreat from 'Anonymous'

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Officials are preparing Sacramento’s IT systems for a potential attack after a video attributed to the online hacktivist group Anonymous threatened to target the city.

“City IT, as well as Public Safety IT, are aware of the threat,” Sacramento CIO Maria MacGunigal told StateScoop in an email. “And [they] are taking all appropriate precautions to protect City information systems.” She added police are investigating who might be responsible for the video.

So far, MacGunigal confirmed that the city’s systems had not been breached.

The group posted the videos following a monthlong protest against a city ordinance that bans camping outside of designated spaces — a rule that opponents say targets the homeless. Since Dec. 3, homeless rights activists and homeless residents have been camping in front of Sacramento’s city hall in opposition to the ordinance. Police began arresting some of the protesters Jan. 2.

Anonymous is a decentralized group of activists who use cyber tools and warning videos to draw attention to various causes. The three videos, which are similar to others supposedly posted by the group for other calls to action, feature a person clad in a Guy Fawkes mask who, using a computer-generated voice, reproaches the city for “deny[ing] the homeless of your city their basic human rights.”

The videos direct officials to instate a 60-day moratorium on the policy.

“The actions of your city are a clear violation of Amendments 1, 4, and 8 of the United States Constitution,” the reader says in one of the videos, which were similar to others attributed to Anonymous. The speaker continues, “That said, be further advised that any and all established entity, must cease and desist with the unconstitutional acts, ordinances and arrest of the law-abiding homeless.”

While no clear plan is mentioned in the videos, the video states the group will “bring the formidable talent of Anonymous to your city” if its demands aren’t met. The Sacramento Bee reported Wednesday that the home addresses and phone numbers of local police and members of the city council were published online this week. It is unclear who posted the information.

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California, cybersecurity, Maria MacGunigal, Public Safety, risk management, Sacramento, State & Local News, States, Tech News
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