OTTAWA — Six Putnam County websites were defaced recently with anti-government messages posted to the main pages.
The main page of the Putnam County website was defaced on July 24, according to Joe Burkhart, Putnam County IT director. The website details the commissioner meeting minutes and agendas as well as county events.
“It was a totally random act,” said Michael Lammers, Putnam County commissioner. “The hacker group out of Brazil looks for government sites to vandalize. Nothing was damaged and we restored the web page from our backups.”
The Secretary of State’s Office alerted Putnam County officials its website had been hacked, Burkhart said. The hacker placed a video on the site in which he bragged about what he had done.
Two days later on July 26, a Brazilian anti-government group defaced the county Website again and the county’s recycling Website where an anti-government message was placed by the group.
On July 28, Putnam County Health Department’s main website was defaced as well with an anti-government message. On July 30, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Office of Public Safety and recorder’s office were defaced by the same anti-government group.
“The messages were easily deleted and the site was back up and running,” Burkhart said. “Essentially it was like someone spray-painting the side of the building where they didn’t get any information and didn’t take anything.”
Burkhart said this is not the first time the county websites have been defaced. It also happened three to four years ago. The county website was down for a day while updates were performed on the site on July 25.
“We are Putnam County and not that big and all the information that was on the six websites was on the same server,” Burkhart said. Court and auditor records are on internal servers that are not on the website.
A content management system was used by the county to update servers for safety purposes.
At the health department, no records were compromised, and the only defacing that took place was on the department’s main page as well as the other offices.
“The sites are now more secure than they were,” Burkhart said.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.