This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Salt Lake City police took their website offline Tuesday afternoon, after it was hacked.
At about 2:30 p.m., police started seeing information on the department's website that "weren't in line with our typical postings," prompting closure of the site, said Salt Lake City Police spokesman Shawn Josephson. All employees also changed their passwords.
The group taking the credit for the hack is a collective known as Anonymous. According to a news release from police, the hacker group says the attack is a response to an anti-graffiti paraphernalia bill being sponsored by state Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City. Currently, the bill in its amended state, prohibits any person to possess any instrument, tool or device with the intent of vandalizing an area with graffiti. Offenders would be guilty of a class C misdemeanor. Depending on the extent of the vandalism, the crime could be boosted to a felony.
On the website, pastebin.com/tpit8bD3, the people claiming to be responsible for the hacking posted their motivations for the attack. They criticize the bill for being too broad, an attempt "to resolve an inconvenience with a flamethrower." The post ridicules the bill's attempt to enforce law "based on suspected intent."
"Has your Senator Karen Mayne watched Minority Report too many times?" the writers ask.
Mayne does not live in Salt Lake City or represent it.
Josephson said police are looking into all possible scenarios of how access was obtained and when the site was hacked.
Police intend on securing the site before it is brought back online and looking into what criminal charges may be filed against the group or individuals involved.
"We are seeking prosecution," Josephson said.
Those claiming to have hacked the site tweeted Tuesday evening that they were able to obtain confidential sensitive information. However, Josephson said the site is not linked to information in police reports or other confidential documents. Hackers gathered email information of registered users on the police website. Police said no confidential information was taken from the site.
"The website was built as a standalone communication feature to increase dialogue about public safety issues in a proactive manner. For this reason it was not integrated with Department or City databases," the news release states.
The police website was designed to allow communication with the public and police. There is not a set date or time for when the site will be back up and running, but in the meantime the public can maintain access to news from police at slcpd.blogspot.com.
"It is important for the public to be involved and we don't want to let a group prevent us from making that communication with the public," Josephson said.
The hack will not affect the routine work of the agency, but now citizens cannot access information on the site.