EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 8, 2013

Zanni: City ready for hacker threat

METHUEN — Mayor Stephen Zanni said Methuen IT workers are on alert after the hacker activist group Anonymous attempted to infiltrate city and school computers in retaliation for last week’s terror-threat arrest of a high school student.

“We’re keeping on top of it now,” said Zanni yesterday in an interview with The Eagle-Tribune. “So far there’s been no damage done.”

On Monday night, Zanni told the City Council that Anonymous “tried hacking into our computers” as a means of retaliation for the May 1 arrest of Methuen High School senior Cameron Dambrosio, 18, of Glen Avenue.

Methuen police say Dambrosio threatened on Facebook to outdo the Boston Marathon bombings. Charged with communicating a terrorist threat, Dambrosio is being held without bail in Middleton jail pending the outcome of a dangerousness hearing tomorrow.

Anonymous is a global “hacktivist” collective that has taken credit for past cyber-attacks on government agencies, private companies and others, including the FBI, U.S. Department of Justice, Motion Picture Association of America and Westboro Baptist Church.

Zanni said yesterday that both municipal and School Department computers were targeted by the group.

“They tried to get into the system,” said Zanni. “Every department in the city had to be looked at.”

A call to Methuen IT Director Kingsley Lough yesterday was not returned. Methuen police Chief Joseph Solomon declined comment.

The mayor said he personally received three threatening emails on Friday “stating what we did (with Dambrosio) was wrong.” When pressed on how he knew Anonymous was behind the emails, Zanni said only that “it was told to me that’s who the group was.”

Zanni would not divulge any details about the content of the emails or who sent them.

“They weren’t good,” said Zanni. “There were threats made.”

‘They don’t want Big Brother’

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