UPDATE: This story has been updated to include details of another denial of service attack on KOMU and additional comments on FBI involvement in investigating the attack on Columbia’s website.
COLUMBIA — The city’s official website is back online after being down since Wednesday night, when a cyber attack flooded the server with information requests. But the hacker responsible might have found a new target in KOMU.
The city’s site, gocolumbiamo.com, was back up as of 12:35 p.m. The site provides information and updates to the public about city services and events.
Deputy city manager Tony St. Romaine said city officials have been in touch with the FBI about the incident.
Joel Sealer, a spokesman for the FBI in Kansas City, said only that city officials had been in contact with the agency, but he would not comment on or confirm the existence of an investigation.
St. Romaine said the activist hacker group Anonymous was the source of the attack on the city’s site, but a YouTube video posted by Bitcoin Baron denies that affiliation and claims sole responsibility for the attack.
In the video’s introduction, Bitcoin Baron states that the attack is in retaliation for a February 2010 incident where Columbia police killed one dog and wounded another during a drug raid.
The YouTube video then shows footage from the raid.
The city’s website was hit by a distributed denial of services attack, which sent requests from multiple sources to the site’s server to overload its bandwidth capacity.
City staff became aware of the problem at around 11 p.m. Wednesday and shut down access to the site to sort out the problem.
KOMU.com’s outage began around 3 p.m. Friday, and KOMU posted on its Facebook page at 4 p.m. Saturday to address the distributed denial of service attack.
In the post, KOMU calls the attack a “direct result” of its reporting on the city’s website being taken down. Its story noted that city officials believed Anonymous was responsible, but a third party contacted the news station to claim responsibility and threaten to take down KOMU.com as well.
Attacks of this nature generally don’t result in the theft of information or other security loss, St. Romaine said.
“Your system is not getting hacked into, and data is not getting compromised,” he said.