Cleburne officials said Wednesday that the city’s computers, email network and emergency dispatch system have been hit by hackers — possibly in retaliation for the fatal shooting of a pit bull by a police officer.
“We are under attack as we speak,” Mayor Scott Cain said Wednesday afternoon, explaining the city has endured five cyber attacks since Oct. 17.
Cleburne’s official website, servers, email and emergency dispatch systems were targeted, but Cain said all are still working, though maybe a bit slower than usual. Cain said personal information used to make online utility payments has not been compromised.
Federal authorities, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have been contacted, he said.
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“We’re not going to put up with this; we’re going to get to the bottom of this,” Cain said. “We consider an attack against our city as an attack of our residents. When they (hackers) are caught, they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Cain’s comments come on the day when a national report suggests that the number of cyber attacks will continue to increase and a major attack will cause “widespread harm” to a nation’s security, according to the Pew Research Center and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center.
The mayor said he is concerned that the attack is related to the online release of a video that shows a Cleburne police officer fatally shooting a pit bull, which the officer said was acting aggressively.
“It appears that someone is trying to disrupt our systems because of the dog situation and has gone too far,” he said.
The shooting, which happened on Aug. 10, is still under investigation, and the city has asked for help from the Texas Rangers and others.
Cain said the “investigative team” is contacting neighbors who live in the neighborhood where the dog was shot as well as residents who moved away from the area since the shooting.
The city is not identifying the officer, who is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. The officer has received death threats and the city is concerned about the safety of the officer and his family, Cain has said.
The video shows the officer making a kissing sound and when the dog came toward him, he was wagging his tail.
The dog’s owner said her dog was not being aggressive.