Hackers attempt to shut down TN.gov - WSMV News 4

Hackers attempt to shut down TN.gov

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

An Internet hacker who has already successfully shut down several government websites has now made an attempt on Tennessee.

It's unclear if it's a person or group, but whoever is using the Twitter handle Vikingdom2015 has been lurking online and shutting down government websites.

"Usually when they attack a website, they'll do what's called a distributed denial of services, which means they're just bombarding the website with traffic coming from all directions and just overloading it, essentially taking it down," said Eric Near, with Dynamic Edge IT Consulting.

The hacker took down several government websites in Maine and a news station's website, presumably for reporting the problem.

The hacker then went online to brag about it, essentially taunting the victims.

"Bragging rights are a big part of it," Near said. "A lot of it is just getting your name out there and getting publicity. Even if it doesn't mean anything, it's just an ego boost."

The attempt on TN.gov was made early Wednesday morning. Vikingdom2015 tweeted, "RIP Tennessee." Apparently the state had the necessary tools in place to block the attack.

Tennessee officials turned down an interview, saying they don't want to encourage a second attempt.

"There are services that that site provides," Near said. "For example, Tennessee has a number of different sites for the different departments, like registering your license plates online, things like that."

IT specialists said whether it's a personal computer or an entire business, people should take preventative measures.

"What we recommend here is just be careful with what's coming into your email," Near said. "If you see a specific attachment, don't open it. It could cause an infection to get to your computer."

Near said there are many others out there like Vikingdom2015.

"I would recommend checking with your IT department of your IT vendor on what sort of security devices you have in place to make sure this doesn't happen to you," he said.

Wednesday afternoon, Twitter shut down the Vikingdom2015 Twitter account.

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