GW College Republicans website hit by global hacking group

A screenshot shows the GW College Republicans website after it was overtaken Wednesday by an Indonesian hacking group.
A screenshot shows the GW College Republicans website after it was overtaken Wednesday by an Indonesian hacking group.

GW College Republicans’ website fell victim to a group of Indonesian hackers Wednesday, two days after it brought down the Australian intelligence agency’s website.

Indonesian Security Down replaced the CR’s website early Wednesday morning with a black screen featuring a red-hooded, masked figure and the hacker group’s name in large letters.

GW’s Chief Information Officer David Steinour said the attack was a “crime of opportunity,” meaning the hacking group was targeting certain website vulnerabilities and not seeking out the GW Republicans.

“The group was primarily interested in distributing a message on the websites it defaced and was not looking specifically for the GW Republicans site,” Steinour said.

He said this attack was not “particularly sophisticated” but because the site was hosted outside of the University’s server, he did not know specifics. He said no GW sites had been hit by the attack.

College Republicans spokesman Alex Pollock said the group’s website should be up and running in about a week, but did not know whether that would be under a new domain name.

Pollock said the group is working with University’s Division of Information Technology to help resolve the issue, and in the meantime, visitors are redirected to the National Committee of College Republicans.

Pollock said the group plans to move its website to GW’s server to benefit from the University’s safer website encryption.

“If there was another attack, it would be even easier for [GW’s IT division] to identify the attack,” Pollock said.

The University stepped up its cybersecurity efforts this summer after Steinour said GW faced more complex threats from China and Eastern Europe targeting sensitive information on GW’s servers.

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