The Ontario government website appeared to be the target of a computer hacker Friday night.
As of 9 p.m. the site had been replaced with a black screen and a photo of a young boy urging viewers — using explicit language — to follow an account on Twitter.
It also featured the MC Hammer video “U Can’t Touch This.” The hacker confidently writes that he is “#unarrestable.”
The attack affected all provincial government websites, including Service Ontario. By 11 p.m., the sites had returned to normal.
A spokesperson for Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s office said they became aware of the issue early Friday evening.
“A third party domain routing service that routes traffic to the Government’s site was hacked — not the government’s own websites,” Zita Astravas said in an email.
“No personal information or any government data was compromised and the websites remain secure.”
Astravas said government IT experts were working with the external domain name hosting provider to restore access as quickly as possible.
“We take cyber security issues very seriously and we are committed to safeguarding the data entrusted to us by Ontario’s citizens and businesses,” she said.
This incident is the most recent in a string of digital attacks against government and police websites
A group of hackers identifying themselves as the Syrian Electronic Army hacked a number of high profile websites in November, including the CBC, NHL, the Telegraph, Forbes, NBC and the Chicago Tribune.
The hack resulted in a pop-up message to visitors to the sites that said “You’ve been hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army.”
A group named Aerith claimed last month to be responsible for hacking into websites for the Toronto police, City of Toronto and the Supreme Court of Canada.
In early November, a high school and church in Barrie were flooded with images of dead women, children, and the phrase “I love ISIS.” The board of directors reported the incident, but by the time the police were notified, the IT department had already removed the evidence from the site.
- With files from Manisha Krishnan