FORT WORTH — The City of Fort Worth fell victim to a cyber attack and unauthorized data leak. The group that claimed responsibility for the attack claimed to have done so because of Texas’ stance on child gender mutilation.
City officials were alerted to an internet post from a group called SeigedSec, where they claimed to have hacked into the city’s website and stolen documents, emails, and data. However, the attack did not involve ransomware, and the group has not asked for a ransom.
According to city officials, the attack was merely a political stunt.
SiegedSec has claimed to have initiated several other cyber attacks based on political issues, including attacks on Arkansas and Kentucky last year after they banned abortion.
This was also determined to be a political attack by the group of self-defined “gay furries.”
The group has made multiple social media posts using explicit language and vowing to “HACK THE PLANET.”
The profile picture for the group’s Telegram social media account is “$ UWU,” based on a Linux terminal prompt. “UWU” is an emoticon used to express being “overwhelmed with cuteness” and is commonly used among the furry community, people who want to identify themselves as animals.
A post on Telegram from SiegedSec reads, “We have decided to make a message towards the U.S. government. Texas happens to be one of the largest states banning gender affirming care, and for that, we have made Texas our target. F*ck the government.”
They then include links to more than 500,000 stolen files from the City of Fort Worth. They claim these files include emails between employees/contractors, internal documents, camera footage, invoices, work orders, and employee lists.
According to Kevin Gunn, director of the City of Fort Worth’s IT solutions, “The city of Fort Worth has confirmed that the posted information did originate from our computer systems.”
“However, that data came from a website that our workers used to manage their maintenance activities and not from the city’s public facing intranet website,” he added. “The information came from a system called Vueworks, and Vueworks facilitates maintenance work orders for our transportation, public works, parks, recreation and property management departments.”
“It appears that hackers downloaded file attachments to work orders within the system and those attachments include things like photographs, spreadsheets, invoices for work performed emails between staff, PDF documents and other related materials for work orders,” said Gunn.
Gunn offered an example, saying, “Those documents might be pictures of potholes that needed repair, both before and after the repair was done, sidewalk repairs or other street repairs, as well as those assorted supporting documentation for those maintenance activities.”
He added that the information leaked by the hackers could have been obtained through a Public Information Act Request.
Although city officials don’t know how SeigedSec managed to obtain access to the Vueworks login information, Gunn said all employees have been forced to change their login information to prevent this from happening again.
As of publication, City of Fort Worth officials say there is no indication that sensitive information related to residents or staff was a part of this incident.