FBI probe hacking of Montgomery Inn, Moerlein Lager House websites

Published: Mar. 7, 2015 at 7:51 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2015 at 9:56 PM EDT
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Viewers saw this on the Montgomery Inn's Saturday website after the alleged hacking (Photo:...
Viewers saw this on the Montgomery Inn's Saturday website after the alleged hacking (Photo: MontgomeryInn.com)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Federal authorities are investigating after Moerlein Lager House and Montgomery Inn's websites were hacked by an individual or group that claimed to be part of ISIS Saturday.

A banner featuring the Islamic State's symbol sat atop Moerlein Lager's website with text that read: "Hacked by Islamic State (ISIS). We are everywhere ;)."

When a viewer attempts to click through Moerlein's website, the banner continues to stay at the top of the page.

Moerlein officials said they are aware and are working on resolving the situation as quickly as possible.

"There is no indication that this is a targeted attack to Cincinnati or the Tri-State region, " said Katrina Biscay, a Cyber Analyst who provides intelligence support for the FBI, which is investigating the hackings.

She says she does not believe the attack has any relation to the Tri-State terrorist, Chris Cornell, who called Fox 19 Now for an interview Friday though, she says, why she believes this is confidential information.

"These types of attacks go for the low hanging fruit, so websites that have open vulnerabilities that are easy to exploit," said Biscay.

She says the attacks are common, so common over the past several days dozens of other businesses across the country have experienced the same alleged Isis hacking.

Another hacking close to home, Eldora Speedway northwest of Dayton.

Mohammed Ali, who's Facebook page was linked to the hacking banner claims to be behind the attacks, but Biscay cannot confirm that he is.

"You hear about it all the time and you always think it won't happen to you, but it sure it home hard with us," said Dean Gregory, Montgomery Inn's managing partner, who says they were able to get their internet site back up later Saturday afternoon. No information was breached or credit card information taken confiscated during the hack.

Moerlein Logger House's website didn't come back to full operation until Monday around 2 p.m., company officials declined to comment.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is aware of the alleged hacking. The FBI is contacting Moerlein and Montgomery Inn.

Technology expert Dave Hatter says companies hosting the websites maybe had some kind of vulnerability that was exploited by the hackers.

Large companies like Anthem and Target have been hacked and Hatter says smaller companies may be especially vulnerable.

"They're not going to have a giant IT department. They're not probably going to have security experts that are specifically sitting around trying to prevent this kind of thing," Hatter said.

The Moerlein Lager House and Montgomery Inn use an outside company to host their websites. Hatter said that company can become a tempting target for hackers.

"The company hosting it if they have a whole bunch of websites on there that's going to be a nice target for someone. It's kind of like a honey pot at that point. If you can break into their servers you can potentially hack all the sites on there," Hatter said.

Hatter says cyber security is an ongoing challenge because the hacking software is readily available.

"It's unfortunately very easy to go out and download hacking tools off the internet for free and have automated systems, computers that are just sitting there testing IP addresses trying to break into sites and when they find a vulnerability they'll log it and then someone comes back later and looks at the log and says OK I got one," Hatter said.

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