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Hacktivist Group Anonymous Attacks Fort Lauderdale Websites Over Homeless Laws

The loosely organized internet group Anonymous put Fort Lauderdale in its sights yesterday, serving some anarcho-internet justice over the city's homeless hate laws. Yesterday, the group posted a video on YouTube demanding Mayor Jack Seiler drop the series of ordinances targeting the homeless. If not, the group threatened to shut down the city's websites -- a threat it made good on a few hours later. The group has dubbed the hack "OpLiftTheBans."

See also: Fort Lauderdale's Controversial Homeless Feeding Restrictions Spark National Outrage

The video features many of the aspects common in Anonymous clips -- a Guy Fawkes-mask-wearing narrator sits at a desk, reading copy in a disguised robo-voice.

"It has come to our attention that Mayor John P. Seiler has become an embarrassment to the good law-abiding citizens of Fort Lauderdale," the video starts, before demanding that the city drop the three ordinances in the next 24 hours. "You should have expected us, Mayor John Seiler."

Yesterday, postings up on Pastebin, a common online hacker meeting place, laid out which websites should be targeted.

By the afternoon, the city's main website -- fortlauderdale.gov --as well as the Fort Lauderdale PD's site -- flpd.org -- were under siege. The hackers also hit the city's email system. Fort Lauderdale officials told the Sun Sentinel it was a denial-of-service hack that flooded the websites with so much traffic that they collapsed under the demand. The city took the sites down due to the attacks. The sites were back up by early evening.

Fort Lauderdale isn't the only municipality to recently feel the group's online sting. Last week, Anonymous shot down the Cleveland, Ohio, city website after a police officer shot a 12-year-old boy.

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Kyle Swenson
Contact: Kyle Swenson

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