- The Washington Times - Monday, February 8, 2016

At least five websites in southern Alabama were hacked over the weekend and defaced with messages condemning U.S. foreign policy.

The websites for the Mobile County Probate Court, the City of Citronelle and the Mobile County Public Works Department were all compromised in recent days, as were the websites for a local library and a state park, a local CBS News affiliate reported Monday.

County officials learned that hackers had hit the probate court’s website — a dot-gov domain — after being notified Sunday by a reporter for the CBS affiliate of what he described as “pro-jihadist propaganda” appearing on its home page.

“We will not be silent - How long will the war continue in Syria, Palestine and Iraq - How long to continue the killing of Muslims in Burma Policy - How long we will continue our heads subservient and silent about what is happening - Someday turn - Someday we will prevail ! - Our goal is not vandalism - But get our message across and we voted for all - Arab Muslim Was Here!” it read.

A hacker or hackers operating as Jund El-Sham Electronic — a likely reference to a name applied to several Sunni Islamist groups — took credit for the defacement.

The probate court’s website was running normally soon after county officials were alerted to the breach, but hackers managed to gain access once again within hours and re-posted the statement. The City of Citronelle’s site and the front page of Mobile County Public Works were hit by the same group that afternoon, as were the websites for Friends of the Fairhope Library and Blakely State Park, CBS reported.

Mark Erwin, the probate court’s chief of staff, told CBS “something similar with a Muslim theme occurred a year or so ago,” but officials failed to identify the responsible party.

“We really feel like [this week’s hack is] a random act,” Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl said.

A cursory Google search for the supposed jihadi group returns an archive containing dozens of sites that had been defaced in an identical manner since December.

All five of the local Alabama websites defaced over the weekend are hosted by the same third-party vendor, SiteOne of Fairhope, and were running out-of-date Windows 2003 server software that Microsoft stopped supporting in July.

Dick Scott, the company’s president and CEO, told the CBS affiliate that he is in the process of moving websites to a server that’s running modern software.

“I’ve given instruction to our administrative team that we need to get with the Site One folks and see what additional measures we need to take or additional measures they need to take or additional measure both of us need to take in regards to this matter,” Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis told NBC News’s local affiliate.

Court records were kept on a different system and not compromised in the hack, Judge Davis told reporters.

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