The international hacking collective Anonymous claimed Wednesday to have launched a cyber-attack against the state of Michigan's official website — apparently in an act of revenge for the city of Flint's water crisis. Anonymous last week pledged to "remind the city officials of Flint that we do not forget and we do not forgive" the actions that led to the city's drinking water being tainted with lead. The state's website came back online briefly early Wednesday evening after an apparent crash, but went down again later. There was no official confirmation for the cause of the website failure.
The state's website came back online early Wednesday evening before crashing again, though there was no official confirmation for the cause of the failure.
— AnonymousCorrupt (@AnonCorruption) January 27, 2016
The city's slow response to deal with the crisis — which may have led to the death of 10 people from Legionnaires' disease over the last year became national news in recent weeks, including accusations that the state ignored the crisis because the city is full of mostly poor people of African-American descent. Many residents in the city are relying on bottled water for drinking and cooking after a state of emergency was declared by President Barack Obama on Jan. 16.
The hacking group is using the hashtag #OpFlint to draw people's attention to their campaign.
In a video released by the cyber group on YouTube, a person wearing a Guy Fawkes mask addresses the current water crisis in Flint and admits that it was late in dealing with the issue.
In a separate incident last week, a hospital in the city suffered a cyber-attack, but hackers were unable to take over any computer systems.
"Hurley Medical Center has IT systems in place, which aid in detecting a virus or cyber-attack,” the hospital spokeswoman, Ilene Cantor, told local Michigan news website MLive. “As such, all policies and protocols were followed in relation to the most recent cyber-attack on our system. Patient care was not compromised and we are closely monitoring all systems to ensure IT security is consistently maintained.”
No other details of the attack were made available by hospital officials and no group or person has claimed responsibility. However, the timing of the attack is suspicious given Anonymous’s threat to take action.