Explore Minnesota Back in Control After Facebook Page Hacked

December 04, 2017 10:31 PM

The state's main tourism agency confirmed late Thursday afternoon that it had removed access gained by hackers to its Facebook page.

 

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Explore Minnesota spokesperson Alyssa Haynes said the agency had been restored as administrator, and it was working closely with the state's information technology services department to make sure the highest levels of security are in place.

 

Strange posts that showed up Monday on the agency's Facebook page were actually part of a cyberattack, Hayes had confirmed earlier.

 

RELATED: 5 INVESTIGATES: 'Hacker for Hire' Service Targeted Government Sites

 

The bizarre postings covered a range of topics and caught the attention of Cole White, who spends a lot of time on the computer as a community editor for a local newspaper. 

 

"It went on all day and got progressively crazier," he said. "It was pretty entertaining to watch."

Haynes said the hackers were able to lock the agency's social media team out of its Facebook page. 

Aaron Call is the chief information security officer for the state, and suspects this was an effort to redirect 226,000 Facebook followers to other websites.

"It's revenue generating for the attacker, and there's nothing to suggest that this one was especially targeted at Minnesota or Minnesota users," Call said.

Haynes said it was a "totally random hacker" and not someone who used to be employed by the agency.

On Wednesday, members of the cybersecurity team in Minnesota are scheduled to meet with some legislators to address safety issues online. 

Credits

Frank Rajkowski and Beth McDonough

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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