Cyber attack shuts down KOMU website
COLUMBIA - KOMU.com was hit by a cyber attack Friday within hours of running a report on a similar attack against Columbia's city website, GoColumbiaMo.com.
In that report, KOMU 8 News quoted Deputy City Manager Tony Romaine as saying the city website attack could be attributed to a collection of hacker activists known as Anonymous.
Shortly after the report was published, KOMU 8 News received an email from a third party, who used the pseudonym Bitcoin Baron, saying he was responsible for the attack on GoColumbiaMo.com. The email threatened to shut down KOMU.com "for giving Anonymous credit," even though he was no longer a member of the group.
The station immediately began working with its service provider and restored KOMU.com by Friday evening.
Then, KOMU.com received a second email from the same sender, saying he would take the site down again because KOMU 8 News did not retract its original reporting. He said the station should post a new headline stating KOMU got hacked for suggesting he was still a member of Anonymous.
KOMU 8 News continued to work with its service provider and alerted appropriate authorities.
"KOMU 8 is committed to providing credible, accurate news for visitors to our website," said General Manager Marty Siddall. "We continue to work with our content management provider on safety precautions and ongoing preventative measures to protect KOMU.com."
As for the original story, St. Romaine said his team had been basing its assessment on information found online, specifically a post on the site Counter Current News. The article claimed the attack on GoColumbiaMo.com was triggered by a video of a 2010 SWAT raid by Columbia Police in which two dogs were shot.
In his original statement to KOMU 8 News, St. Romaine said, "We have no reason but to believe what they say; that this attack is in response to a SWAT raid by CPD four years ago. It is unfortunate, especially at this late date, that they have chosen to protest by disabling the City's website."
The city's website was working again Saturday.