Tags Posts tagged with "ISIS"

ISIS

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As we are filming “One Life to Give,” the Battle of Long Island, which took place at the beginning of our Revolutionary War in 1776, and the dramatic story of Nathan Hale, ISIS has come knocking on Brookhaven’s door in 2017. What? You may say, ISIS from the faraway lands of Syria and Afghanistan, those violently troubled, war-torn places in the Middle East reaching out to our serene little township?

So it seems. This past Sunday, an extra page was found to be on the official town site. This page, from a group called Team System Dz, conveyed some unpleasant pro-ISIS thoughts through Facebook and, according to Brookhaven, not directly from the town website.

Why are we on the group’s radar? Who knows? But they have been sending messages like the one we received here throughout the country to 76 municipalities all told, according to town Councilman Dan Panico. Along with these assaults, similar messages were found on several Ohio government websites, including that of Gov. John Kasich. This particular group has hacked into many government websites around the world in recent years, according to a story in Newsday.

As we know, these terrorist groups are looking to spread fear, and the internet enables them to reach across the globe even as their physically occupied territory shrinks from allied military efforts to defeat them.

Homeland Security officials are actively investigating the event, but for us the timing is particularly meaningful. Here we are, filming the story of the birth of our nation, some 240 years ago, and realizing most meaningfully the values and freedoms under which we live. Those we hail as Patriots gave their lives and fortunes, in some cases, so that these inalienable rights of our society might come down through the centuries to us. We don’t live in fear of being gassed or dismembered by our government. We have the right to criticize our leaders without disappearing. We live under the rule of a Constitution that was forged in democracy, and none of these facts are lost on us as we film the events and the people who made it happen more than two centuries ago. Approaching July Fourth, we are profoundly grateful for our nation, warts and all.

As we covered the story of the town’s hacked website, we needed to decide how to run the article in our papers. We briefly considered putting the ISIS event on the front page, then immediately chose instead to lead with one of the values that make us who we are: our educational system. As you can see, we have given prominence to graduations. We are the hometown papers and we prize our students and their accomplishments. We wouldn’t dream of destroying schools and slaughtering teachers. Our educational system makes democracy possible, and that is what totalitarian regimes fear. Our residents know how to read and write and, we sincerely hope, tell propaganda from real news.

From the battlefield of Long Island and the campsite of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Tallmadge and Nathan Hale to the backyard barbecues and rockets’ red glare of our fireworks, have a Happy Independence Day!

Group created Facebook link using Brookhaven server with anti-Trump message

An ISIS-inspired Facebook page posted a link to an anti-American propaganda page created using Brookhaven Town servers Sunday. Image from Facebook

A pro-ISIS group successfully hacked the Brookhaven Town web servers for at least three hours Sunday, June 25.

Brookhaven was one of 76 municipalities affected by the hack, according to Deputy Supervisor Daniel Panico (R-Manorville). The anti-American group created a page with hateful propaganda against the USA and the President of the United States.

Panico and Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) addressed the incident during a press conference at Town Hall June 26. The group, called Team System DZ created a link using the Brookhaven Town servers to a static, “look-alike” webpage at the address www.http://www.brookhavenny.gov/index.html, and posted it on their Facebook page with the message “Government sites continue to be fondled,” in Arabic, according to Google Translate. The standard brookhavenny.gov website was not impacted and the propaganda page was not visible anywhere on the site, though “out of an abundance of caution,” the town server has been quarantined and the town webpage was taken down.

At the time of this posting the town website remains down, though Romaine said he expected it to be restored within 24 hours of the press conference. The propaganda page has been taken down and currently lists an error message.

“You will be held accountable Trump, you and all your people for every drop of blood flowing in Muslim countries,” the message read in part.

Panico said he was alerted about the issue after a town employee notified the town’s information technology department about the breach after reading a New York Post story posted at about 1:30 p.m. with information about the Facebook post by the group.

Panico was asked if it was concerning the town was alerted thanks to media reports rather than its own security defenses.

“It was a Sunday, and I don’t know anyone in our IT department that checks ISIS-related Facebook pages,” he said. “We’re pretty thorough here at the town, but I don’t know that our IT department combs the pages of those people who hate America.”

Romaine said officials from a Suffolk County cybercrimes unit were speaking with the town’s IT director while the press conference was going on, and the FBI and Homeland Security would assist in investigating the breach. Romaine added U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) offered full assistance of federal investigative personnel to get to the bottom of the incident, and he had also been in contact with U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D) office Monday.

Brookhaven Councilman Daniel Panico and Supervisor Ed Romaine address a hack of town servers during a press conference June 26. Photo by Alex Petroski

“It’s disconcerting and we don’t write it off as a prank,” Romaine said during the press conference. “We take threats like this, cyber threats, seriously.”

Panico said no information was extracted from the website or servers, and possible actions to prevent future breaches are part of the investigation. He also said it is unclear how long the servers were infiltrated by the hackers. Panico disputed claims the message was posted on the town website’s homepage. Romaine said this was the first time the town had suffered a breach like this.

“None of our records that we know of were breached,” Panico said, adding that the town’s financial information is stored on the cloud offsite on different servers.

Zeldin addressed the hack in an emailed statement through spokeswoman Jennifer DiSiena.

“I will continue to do anything in my power to improve cyber security and protect against other threats facing our nation at home and abroad,” he said.

Marisa Kaufman, a spokeswoman from Schumer’s office, said in an email they have been in contact with Brookhaven about the issue and are looking into the matter. Schumer sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly urging him to launch an immediate investigation into the incident.

“The possibility that these breaches were done by an ISIS or terror-affiliated organization is especially troublesome; citizens deserve to feel like their everyday critical infrastructure, especial their local government’s website are safe and usable,” the letter said.

This version was updated June 26 to include comments from Schumer and the message on the page.

How to defeat ISIS, save the economy and reunite the country

By Michael Tessler

Michael Tessler

Historically speaking, the United States economy tends to thrive in wartime. Americans become patriotic when faced with a great foreign menace. In times of crisis, we tend to buy American products. Our star-spangled workforce works harder and innovates quicker. Our domestic political disagreements seem smaller when we tackle something larger than ourselves. In these moments of dire necessity, we find common purpose. Under that pretense our nation was founded and through the centuries has propelled it to unparalleled success.

Thankfully, we do not need another world war to accomplish this spirit of unity. This may all feel impossible as the gap between our political factions has never felt wider. On every issue it seems partisanship dictates idleness and/or delinquency. So how do we bridge that gap? How do we break the ice? Well the answer is simple — by protecting it.

Climate change is the key to a new era of American greatness. Now, even if you don’t believe in climate change, hear me out. Before we can proceed, please remove the term “climate change” from your mind as some abstract scientific concept. Let’s personalize it, treat it in the same fashion we’d treat any great and terrible foreign power or dictator. It helps to imagine it with an evil little mustache. Envisioning it now? Good.

This Blue Scare (yes, as in excess water) threatens our homes, our livelihoods and our way of life. If we lose this literal “Cold” War, our cities and towns could be decimated not by atomic fire but by superstorms, erosion, dust bowls and flooding. Each day we wait, the Blue Menace grows stronger, melting glaciers and capturing our territory, inch by inch.

Let us form an iron curtain around the ozone layer, protect it from further damage and economically punish those who aide in its destruction. We must establish a great coalition of all civilized nations to combat this threat in an act of global unity, all the while strengthening and cementing our role as an international leader.

This Blue Menace has allied itself with our nation’s greatest physical enemy, ISIS. Their terrorist organization wants nothing more than for us to continue to ignore this mighty faceless foe. According to the United States Treasury and Dubai-based energy analysts, ISIS receives nearly $1 to $3 million a day selling oil. Meanwhile, the United States continues to be the global leader in daily oil consumption accounting for 20 percent of all global use each and every day.

By ending our addiction to oil, we could decimate the so-called Islamic Caliphate without dropping a single bomb. Without the money from that precious resource, they would be unable to remain an effective fighting force. Our nation would no longer have to maintain alliances with false friends, who have used their swaths of oil as leverage over our current state of dependence.

Meanwhile, we can commit that all investments in green energy jobs must be American. We can hire every single unemployed American to help build a modern and green infrastructure. We will see the greatest investment in public works since President Eisenhower built the interstate highway system. We will create a new generation of energy-producing highways (yes, that’s an actual thing), new energy fueling stations, bullet trains, green appliances and the vehicles of tomorrow.

Industry will boom and the workforce will grow as we upgrade and innovate many existing products and power plants. Regardless of how one views climate change, the economic possibility is real and should not be ignored.

One of the biggest concerns I’ve heard is how will communities that produce outdated energy sources be impacted? Though the merits of “clean coal” can be debated, it is simply not a renewable resource. Our economy cannot survive or remain competitive in the 21st century using finite resources.

We cannot and will not abandon those who live in coal and oil country either. We will continue to ensure that their communities thrive by transforming them into clean energy economic hubs, providing not just new jobs, but training and tax subsidies to aide in their transition. Their concerns are genuine and have a right to be heard.

As long as the United States can be fundamentally held hostage by oil, we are at-risk. We owe it to all those who have sacrificed, to our children, born and unborn, to the ideals of America itself, to create a country that relies solely on the ingenuity of its people rather than foreign pipelines and the fuel of a bygone century.

So let’s defeat ISIS, let’s grow the economy, let’s reunite our country, let’s do something bold — we have landed a man on the moon, and with that same American tenacity, we can harness the power of the sun.