Fort Lauderdale City Spends $430,000 on Cyber Security After Anonymous Attack

The City of Ford Lauderdale boosted its cyber security network with a heavy investment of $430,000 to bring in more improvements after it encountered a hacking attack by a cyber –activist group called Anonymous last month for its homeless laws. On the contrary, the city official said that the investment was not specifically in response to the attack, but the money spent on computer upgrades were preplanned anyway.

The city’s main website, fortlauderdale.gov, and flpd.org, the Fort Lauderdale PD’s website were attacked by hacker earlier on December 1, 2014 with a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. This caused the websites to be overloaded with so much traffic that it had to be shut down. However, it was only a few hours after which the attack ended and the sites being reactivated by evening.

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Wearing the Guy Fawkes mask – the masked hacker demanded in video warning of the attack that the city drops the three debated ordinances in the next 24 hours.

The hacker said that Mayor John P. Seiler has been a disgrace to the innocent law-abiding citizens of Fort Lauderdale and also said “You should have expected us, Mayor John Seiler.”

It is expected by the city officials that the new security measures would keep this and other kinds of attacks at bay in the coming future. However, the problem is that Seiler was already aware of these upgrades and knew that a group of hackers wearing plastic masks would invade the entire city’s website causing it to be completely shut down along giving a threat of eradicating the city’s entire web presence if the laws concerning the homeless people were not put down for good.

It is however, clear that Anonymous caused an advance in the work that is needed to be executed or changed and highlighted areas that need serious attention. Seiler tells the Sun Sentinel. “I wouldn’t say that [the expense] was all tied to Anonymous in any way, shape, or form.”

The upgrade bill of Fort Lauderdale computers will be passing under consultation and will be overseen. From the Sentinel:

City manager Lee Feldman broke down the emergency expenses: $366,989 for specialized security consulting and oversight services; $45,398 for software licenses to manage and control computer activities; and $17,907 for hardware to strengthen the computer infrastructure.

It seems that the city of Fort Lauderdale is not the only victim of Anonymous’ DDoS attacks. Previously, Anonymous has attacked major credit card companies such as Visa and Mastercard along payment system Paypal, causing them to forfeit around $6 million in 2010. However the attacks had a reason which was that these companies prevented people from donating to Wikileaks through their systems.

Two hackers that were from United Kingdom have been arrested and sentenced to prison for seven and eighteen months respectively. One, however, is still on the loose.

It might not be surprising to know that Anonymous DDoS attack is not limited to the City of Fort Lauderdale as well. It has come to be known Anonymous attacked the website of Albuquerque’s police Department. The website was hacked causing it to crash on March 2015. Again, this was done for a reason. The police had killed a mentally ill and unarmed, homeless man named James Boyd who was shot dead.


Waqas

Waqas Amir is a Milan-based cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Waqas is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.