News / Utah / Local

Hackers disable military charity site

By Jennifer Stagg | Posted - Feb 1st, 2013 @ 10:53pm


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SALT LAKE CITY &#8212 A non profit organization with an office in Salt Lake City was the victim of an online hacker last Saturday.

"I don't understand how you could do this," said Jeff Mitchell, President, Operation Bald Eagle. "How you could be so far bent that you can't understand the sacrifices these kids are making."

Mitchell said he and his staff only want to do good and he can't comprehend why someone would target them and do something so bad. Operation Bald Eagle is a non-profit he and his family started four years ago in Seattle to serve troops, families of fallen soldiers and officers.

It's now grown to include an office in Salt Lake City, and apparently their efforts attracted some unwanted international attention. Saturday, when Jeff pulled up the non-profit's website, he learned he had been hacked.

"I thought I had flipped up the wrong website," Mitchell said. "This Arabic message came up that said, 'You've been hacked; all of your messages have been deleted.' "

Someone claiming to be a "Tunisian hacker" had taken over the page, erasing not only the site, but all of the backup files, as well. The webpage was filled with the biographies and stories of lives lost for their country. Now, it is all gone.


If you're interested in learning more about Operation Bald Eagle, you can contact them at 877-OBE-0911, 222 S. Main Street, Suite 500, SLC, UT, 84111.

"It's pretty hard when you know you put the bios of these families and it means a lot to them and to know somebody has just maliciously taken that all away, it's pretty difficult," Mitchell said.

He said the site is close to getting back up, with added security measures. He contacted the FBI, who told him they are looking into the hacking. Mitchell has no idea who the hacker is, or why Operation Bald Eagle was targeted.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government is considering more assertive action against China, saying Chinese hackers are waging a cyber-espionage campaign against U.S. companies and government agencies.

On Thursday, The New York Times reported Chinese hackers have repeatedly accessed the newspaper's computer systems over the past four months, stealing reporters' passwords and sifting through files looking for information related to the wealth of a top Chinese leader.

The Wall Street Journal also reported it had been hacked by people looking for information about the paper's coverage of China.

Contributing: Stephanie Grimes

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