Small businesses in western Nevada County were besieged by an international conglomerate of computer hackers in a bizarre crime that replaced the front page of many area websites with a new page that played a Palestinian protest song.
Heidi Greenberg is the owner of Lawyers in Transition, a locally owned business that has a national presence and helps lawyers unhappy with their present career explore options.
When Greenberg typed in the address to her website — www.lawyersintransistion.com — she found that her front page no longer came up.
Instead, an image of a Middle Eastern Landscape appeared accompanied by a song called by “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free,” featuring a singer singing in Arabic.
“It’s a nice sounding song, but I have no idea what it means,” Greenberg said.
In all seriousness, the incident is a serious inconvenience to Greenberg, whose business is too small to afford an Internet technology department.
“It’s just me and I don’t know how to fix it,” she said. “Of course this hurts my business. I am a national consultant and now people can’t find me.”
The new website is “signed” by a group calling itself Anonymous DZ.
Anonymous is an infamous group of loosely affiliated “hacktavists” who advocate for freedom of information on the Internet and wreak havoc on any institution, private or public, it perceives as preventing the flow of information or inhibiting freedom.
The group intercepted a conversation between the FBI and Scotland Yard in February and posted it to the Internet, causing a great deal of embarrassment for both law enforcement agencies, the London Telegraph reported.
The hackers also reportedly shut down all of Syria’s websites just days ago, reportedly prevented Karl Rove from accessing Ohio voter databases during the 2012 election, took on Mexico’s largest drug cartel and delivered Internet pedophiles into police custody in the United Kingdom.
On Friday, they set their sights on Nevada County.
“It’s incredibly frustrating,” said Adam Brodel, owner of SmarterBroadband, an independent Internet Service Provider based in the foothills. “It’s just a waste of people’s time and effort. These guys are so good. There is nothing you can do.”
A “good number” of SmarterBroadband’s customers met with the same issues as Greenberg with their front page being replaced by the Palestinian song, Brodel said.
Workers at SmarterBroadband are forced to sift through the attacked websites one by one in order to rectify the situation.
Anonymous is a reputed supporter of the Palestinian struggle, as the group launched a series of attacks on Israeli government websites throughout November in response to Operation Pillar Cloud, the Washington Post reported.
The attacks on the government websites, including Israel’s Foreign Ministry and the municipal website for Tel Aviv, were to protest what the hacking group deemed “the barbaric, brutal and despicable treatment of the Palestinian people.”
Brodel said he expects most of the websites to be restored to working order by Monday.
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4239.