A hacker — who claims to be part of the group Anonymous — has threatened to target websites belonging to the City of Toronto and Toronto Police Service.
The pledge made by a hacker, who goes by the name Aerith, comes days after an attack on the City of Ottawa’s website. That city’s homepage was replaced with an image of a dancing banana and the name of an Ottawa police officer involved in a massive “swatting” case against a teen.
City of Toronto spokesman Jackie DeSouza confirmed the city is aware of what happened in Ottawa and that officials will “remain extra vigilant” as they monitor toronto.ca for suspicious activity.
“Similar attacks have occurred in the industry in the past and as a result, the city has ensured we have implemented security best practices to protect our corporate network and website,” she said in an e-mail Sunday night.
“In the unlikely event of a successful attack, we will respond immediately to restore service if interrupted,” DeSouza said.
A spokesman for Mayor-elect John Tory said the civic leader was “aware of the situation.”
“(We) will ask for a briefing from city officials at the earliest opportunity,” Amanda Galbraith said Sunday.
By Sunday evening, torontopolice.on.ca was unavailable online. Toronto Police did not respond to questions posed before and after the website went dark.
Aerith has said the targeted hacks come because a teen from Barrhaven — a suburban area southwest of Ottawa — faces swatting charges from Toronto, not just Ottawa. The hacker claims to have proof the kid was framed.
The youth’s father held a small press conference in Larkin Park on Sunday where he brought media up to speed with the case against his son.
“I want to thank the group Anonymous for the beautiful gift they have given me — the proof of my son’s innocence,” he said.
The man read an e-mailed statement on behalf of Aerith who proclaimed the Conservative Party of Canada’s website was among the next ones to be targeted, along with parl.gc.ca.
“We are helping the youth clear his name,” read the statement.
“He was framed. We will be disclosing documents in the coming days.”
Broken light bulb
At the press conference, the father showed a photo of a broken light bulb with what he claimed was a listening device found inside.
Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau said he wouldn’t comment on the photo, except to say it “looks like a light bulb.”
He wouldn’t say if Ottawa police use listening devices and if the device shown is in fact a listening device.
Aerith said that Anonymous tipped the father off about the listening devices because police e-mails had been intercepted.