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Hackers attack BART, Fullerton police websites

The effort by the group Anonymous in response to the deaths of two men was apparently thwarted in Fullerton. But officials at Bay Area Rapid Transit had to shut down a marketing site.

August 15, 2011|Garrett Therolf and Richard Winton, Times Staff Writers

A group of activist hackers launched attacks Sunday against the websites of the Fullerton Police Department and the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in response to the recent deaths of two men in confrontations with the agencies.

The attack did not appear to be successful in Fullerton, but officials at the San Francisco-area mass transit authority were forced to shut down, a marketing website designed to encourage riders to use the system for travel to leisure events.

The group posted the names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and passwords of thousands of Bay Area residents, but a BART spokesman said the website held no sensitive financial information.

"We are in the process of contacting our customers to offer advice and extend regrets that this has happened," BART spokesman Jim Allison said.

The hacker group Anonymous issued a statement saying, "We are your citizens, we are the people, we do not tolerate oppression from any government agency."

BART "stored their members' information with virtually no security," the hackers wrote. "Any 8-year-old with an Internet connection could have done what we did to find it."

The group targeted BART after the fatal shooting of a homeless man last month and because the agency shut down cellphone service in its trains and stations during a demonstration last week over the incident.

Allison said that the agency anticipated further attempts to disrupt its online presence and that it has brought in experts from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for assistance. The FBI is also investigating.

The threat to hack the Fullerton police website was in response to the death of Kelly Thomas during a confrontation with officers last month. The city deployed its information technology staff to secure computers and electronic communications and to monitor the systems for intrusions.

"It's definitely something we are taking seriously and doing everything we can to make sure our facilities are secure," Fullerton Police Sgt. Andrew Goodrich said.

No sabotage or disruptions have been detected, Goodrich said.

Michael Gennaco, who oversees Los Angeles County's Office of Independent Review and scrutinizes the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, will lead an investigation into the homeless man's deadly encounter with six officers.

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