The Yellowknife Multisport Club appears to have become one of extremist group Islamic State’s less likely hacking victims.
On Monday afternoon, the club’s website displayed a large banner reading: “Hacked by Islamic State.”
The banner is identical to messages found on a range of websites across North America and Europe in the past 48 hours.
However, appearances may be deceiving.
Experts quoted by NBC News suggest it’s unlikely these attacks are the work of the same hackers responsible for the extremist group’s past attacks on well-known websites.
“It’s script kiddies that are doing this, right? It’s a bunch of automated bots searching for vulnerabilities. The attacks are completely random,” concurred Doug Johnston, account director at Yellowknife-based Outcrop Communications – which helped the club set up its website.
Outcrop no longer hosts or maintains the Multisport Club’s website, but Johnston said the company was doing what it could to help the club get things back to normal.
Other low-profile sites suffering similar attacks in the past few days include:
- The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre in Ireland
- Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio
- Southwest Montana Community Federal Credit Union
- Montauk Manor, a Long Island condo complex
- Third Street Brewhouse in St Cloud, Minnesota
- North Douglas Pentecostal Church in Saanich, BC
“I don’t think (Islamic State) agents would be interested in a hack like this,” one county sheriff told NBC in relation to an attack in the US.
“I think this is more likely a domestic hacker rather than international cyberterrorism.”
Evan Kohlmann, a global security consultant for NBC, told the network: “There are no indications that the individuals behind these latest hacks have any real connection to Islamic State, and these defacements have taken place amid a spate of recent attacks where ordinary hackers have cynically used far-fetched references to Islamic State as a means of attracting media attention.”
The FBI says it is investigating.