FREDERICTON (CUP)—The University of New Brunswick Student Union (UNBSU) website is back online after it was overtaken by an organization supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) for a short time Oct. 13.
The website was one of hundreds around the world that appeared to have been targeted by a group called Team System DZ since Oct. 4. For several hours the UNBSU website featured the organization’s name, the words “i love you isis,” and anti-American rhetoric. It was restored to an earlier form by 10:30 p.m. that night.
UNBSU vice-president external Nicole Saulnier said the union was in contact with Fredericton police, who are investigating.
“We are very concerned and upset about what has happened to our website and we will be doing our best to rectify this situation as soon as possible,” she said.
Neither the student union nor the university had anything to do with the hack, said officials with the website provider.
The website provider is Informative Computer Solutions, a company based in Saint John, N.B. One of their servers was compromised by a group called Team System DZ, affecting between four and six websites.
Jon Quinn, director of public relations at Informative Computer Solutions, said the server wasn’t targeted specifically. On the Team System DZ Facebook page, which has since been taken down, the organization posted a list of at least 100 other websites they’d hacked.
“The list was thousands long so this wasn’t targeting against UNB or the student union or Canada,” Quinn said.
“They scan through the different sites and say, ‘This one’s using this plug-in, this platform, or this software. We know how to compromise that so we’re going to target the site.’ It has nothing to do with UNB in particular.”
One post on the page references “server Israelian sql injection.” An SQL injection seeks to add a command into a website’s code to gather hidden information like passwords and in some cases can overwrite the existing code.
Below that, in a separate post, is a link to a file hosting and sharing website with a link for KompoZer, a website design tool.
Below the title on the UNBSU website was an Arabic phrase that roughly translates to, “God’s law is in progress. The Islamic nation is coming and god’s law will be applied. You have been warned.”
The website then featured a scrolling-text-box, that in part read: “This time is a time of Islam and victory and lift the injustice for Muslims and the elimination of America and the allies of the infidels…”
Quinn said only one file on the server was compromised, so it was a simple fix.
The UNBSU website went back online about two hours after the hack was first noticed.
“The people who defaced the website also did the same thing to a number of other websites across the continent,” said union president Greg Bailey. “It was a case of someone taking advantage of whatever web pages were vulnerable at the time, not a target attack against us specifically.”
Sam Laidman and Sean McCullum reports for the Aquinian at St. Thomas University. Emma McPhee reports for the Brunswickan at the University of New Brunswick.