A hacktivist group loosely associated with Anonymous targeted the Chicago Police Department over the weekend as mass protests against NATO spilled over into the digital realm.
The hacktivists also took aim at the Chicago City council website, effectively downing both sites on Sunday morning. In addition, hackers may have attempted to disrupt traffic to various NATO sites, although such reports remain unconfirmed.
“We are actively engaged in actions against the Chicago Police Department and encourage anyone to take up the cause and use the AntiS3curityOPS Anonymous banner,” the group said in an online communiqué posted on www.cyberwarnews.info.
“We are in your harbor Chicago, and you will not forget us.”
City council spokesman Pete Scales officially confirmed the cyber strike, stating: “We are aware of the potential issue with the city’s website and are working with the appropriate federal authorities to address the situation.”
Unsurprisingly, the FBI has already kicked off an investigation of the hacking incident, which the bureau seems to have classified as a cyber crime.
“[However], I don’t think we are at a point where we can call this terrorism,” an agent told Reuters.
It should be noted that the Chicago Police Department spent at least $1 million in “riot-control equipment” preparing for the NATO summit.
According to the UK-based Guardian: “The city of Chicago’s procurement services website shows that in March  $757,657 was spent on 8,513 ‘retro-fit kits’ to be fitted to police helmets. In February  673 of the same kits, which include a face shield and ear and neck protectors, were purchased for $56,632.”
Approximately 45 protesters were arrested on Sunday, while at least four officers incurred various injuries. It was uncertain how many protesters were injured in clashed between demonstrators and police.