A hacker group that describes itself
as a "Bangladesh-based International Network of Muslim Programer [sic] & Hacktivist" is responsible for defacing the homepage of Stlbudget.com, which serves as a repository of information about the city's budget-making process.
Or, at least Stlbudget.com served that purpose back in 2013. Turns out the hackers took down an abandoned website. Lulz!
We spotted the hacking yesterday while clicking around on the Board of Aldermen Ways and Means Committee Twitter account
, which is maintained by the office of BOA President Lewis Reed. That Twitter account is active — its profile touts itself as "the official Twitter account for the 2016-2017 budget process of the City of St. Louis" — and provides a very helpful live-tweeted summary of committee hearings. The Twitter account includes a link to Stlbudget.com on its profile.
Clicking on Stlbudget.com, however, results in a blank webpage with the words "Hacked by Kazi Shaheb | TeaM_CC | Bangladeshi Hacker" splashed across a white background.
We contacted Maggie Crane, spokeswoman for Mayor Francis Slay, who tells us that Stlbudget.com was never officially maintained by the city. Citing the city's IT department, Crane reassured us that the hacking "does not pose a threat to the City's budget information and expenditure database."
According to Michael Powers, legislative director for Reed's office, the site had been created by Alderman Antonio French in order to provide the public with video recordings of committee meetings and general information about the budgeting process. (We reached out to French for more details about the site's creation, but we have yet to hear back.)
The hacking itself appears to have only corrupted the website's home page. Other parts of the website ares still available
Like many hacker groups, TeaM_CC recorded its successful attack for posterity on Zone-H, a widely used archive of defaced websites that allows groups to self-report their own digital deviance. TeaM_CC claim to have defaced the homepage in February.
As of press time, Stlbudget.com is still listed on the Ways and Means Committee Twitter account profile, but we'd recommend a different source of fiscal information. If you'd actually like to watch videos of St. Louis budget committee hearings and whatnot, check out of the city's YouTube channel
Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_ Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com