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Mystery hackers take down state government sites

state capitol

https://www.flickr.com/photos/katsrcool/15329393310/in/photolist-2aUzMb-2aUzMw-9wvKXB-aTZnV8-4wFRd9-6GHfj8-qv4RT1-qvSaFR-2H9Py-bwnvQF-pmB9yE-puZaUm-czFAV5-LqUCd-4ZykPo-84F4q-oQPJjZ-fbhj91-oQNKYe-3amCb7-4j5LL5-34UW8p-qdGGgr-athWrG-bzGSL4-dWz5BG-6R6STs-niDRYA-33H4Rx-eqY7jf-4Wf8w7-r26zCm-edEzFg-aF3w7-81i41C-dcsukP-LWimX-nMva7A-8PuXNj-rw79r-hnpqL-4Wf7NL-4Wf8uJ-8p3x9w-dW163B-pXe5J-fd16YU-5XWwzE-7fkc8-e8BdAM

The operation appears to boil down to malicious mischief.

Over the past nine days, what may be a small collective of hackers have taken down the websites of various state governments—apparently at random and without repercussion.

More governments going down soon.
— Vikingdom2015 (@Vikingdom2015) March 24, 2015

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If these guys have any motive beyond mischief, they’re not saying. At one point they linked to a site that purported to explain their reasons for repeatedly targeting maine.gov. Put simply:

Confusing matters further are #Vikingdom2015’s distributed denial-of-service attacks on virtually unknown digital properties like the Dictionary of Scottish Architects, or the humble blog of a retired British sailor, as well as the operation’s peculiar focus on places like Bangor, Maine, and Columbia, Mo. The site for radio station the Eagle 93.9, based in the latter city, evidently hasn’t come back online since going dark on March 16.

http://t.co/z9nQ97p3Gj #OFFLINE
— Vikingdom2015 (@Vikingdom2015) March 22, 2015

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Journalists have speculated, based on since-deleted tweets, links, and bios, that the group might be affiliated with the hacker league Anonymous, or even based in Russia. Whoever controls the @Vikingdom2015 handle denied as much and ridiculed these claims, then lashed out against a Bangor-based Fox affiliate that chose to actively troll them.

WERE NOT ANONYMOUS WERE THE VIKING NEW BORN HACKERS

— Vikingdom2015 (@Vikingdom2015) March 20, 2015

@moneyries pic.twitter.com/Pn8wVnName

— Vikingdom2015 (@Vikingdom2015) March 25, 2015

@FoxABCMaine http://t.co/uUJHNsA10n #OFFLINE

— Vikingdom2015 (@Vikingdom2015) March 25, 2015

@Vikingdom2015 @trivialpackets We took ourselves down before you could

— WFVX WVII News (@FoxABCMaine) March 25, 2015

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News outlets weren’t the only ones mocking #Vikingdom2015, either.

@Vikingdom2015 try something a little more impressive then a DDOS. #LizardSquadwannabe #dontletyourmomcatchyou
— Justin F.P. (@HeyItsMeJUSTINP) March 24, 2015

It’s anyone’s guess as to how long these shenanigans might continue unimpeded—or whether they’ll ever escalate beyond the DDoS tactic and logging the IP addresses of site visitors. To judge by interactions with interested observers, the campaign seems frivolous by design.

@janabarnello @WGME You smell really bad
— Vikingdom2015 (@Vikingdom2015) March 25, 2015
@DonateFood FUCK OFF BITCH

— Vikingdom2015 (@Vikingdom2015) March 25, 2015

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All the same, the cabal doesn’t necessarily want for ambition.

If one member gets arrested from our team, then we will do even more damage.
— Vikingdom2015 (@Vikingdom2015) March 20, 2015

The Daily Dot reached out to @Vikingdom2015 for additional comment, but we’ve yet to see a reply. Anyway, take heart, state employees—maybe you’ll get to go home early today.

Update 6:15pm CT, Mar. 25: The Vikingdom2015 Twitter account has been suspended. Once-embedded tweets have been replaced by their original language. 

Photo via katsrcool/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Miles Klee

Miles Klee

Miles Klee is a novelist and web culture reporter. The former editor of the Daily Dot’s Unclick section, Klee’s essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM, Salon, the Awl, the New York Observer, the Millions,  and the Village Voice. He's the author of two odd books of fiction, 'Ivyland' and 'True False.'