METHUEN — The internationally-known hacker activist group Anonymous targeted the city’s computer systems over the weekend, Mayor Stephen Zanni told city councilors last night.
Zanni said the city was targeted in apparent retaliation for the arrest of a Methuen High School student. The arrest of 18-year-old Cameron Dambrosio last week for threatening on Facebook to outdo the Boston Marathon bombings has made widespread headlines.
Anonymous is a global hacking 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.
Homeland security officials have also reportedly warned American government and financial institutions about an anticipated wave of attacks slated for this week by Anonymous-linked “hacktivists” based in the Middle East and North Africa.
Zanni told councilors last night that Anonymous got “very upset” about the arrest. He offered no other details about how or why the group targeted city computers, other than to say: “That was dealt with over the weekend. Thank God we’re OK.”
Zanni did not return multiple calls seeking further comment after the meeting. Police Chief Joseph Solomon declined comment last night.
Dambrosio, of 19 Glen Ave., has been charged with the felony offense of communicating a terrorist threat. He is in Middleton jail awaiting a dangerousness hearing Thursday and was held without bail following his arraignment last week.
Dambrosio was arrested May 1 on Pleasant Street after a violent Facebook post he wrote was brought to the attention of Methuen High Athletic Director James Weymouth.
“Don’t (expletive) cry or be worried because all YOU people (expletive) caused this (expletive). (Expletive) a boston bombing wait till u see the (expletive) I do, Ima be famous for rapping, and beating every murder charge that comes across me!” wrote Dambrosio, according to a copy of his Facebook post included with a police report.