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Graffiti bill fails in Utah Senate; hackers warn they are still watching

Published: Thursday, Feb. 2 2012 5:49 p.m. MST

In this 2008 file photo, West Valley Code Enforcement Officer Jacob Shafizadeh uses solvent and a high pressure sprayer to remove graffiti from brick work on 3200 West in West Valley.

Mike Terry, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A group calling itself Anonymous says it has all kinds of information from the Salt Lake City Police Department's website www.slpd.com. But someone claiming to be responsible says the public has nothing to fear.

In a private chat room, the hacker who identifies as Kahuna explains why he stole thousands of documents from the police website. There’s no way of knowing if the person was behind the hack, but Salt Lake police say he is likely linked somehow to the group that got into their website.

"Somehow, they are affiliated, they are in the know," Police Sgt. Shawn Josephson said. "As far as what their involvement is, we're not sure at this point, but we are definitely keeping those details in mind."

The proof Kahuna provided during the chat were files that were stolen from the website, one of which was an unpublished complaint submitted by a citizen.

“Daily we watch cops beat people, arrest them without cause, and this is a message that we are watching and that we see this as unlawful," he wrote.

Kahuna is referring to SB107. Bill sponsor state Sen. Karen Mayen, D-West Valley City, says the law would have made possession of graffiti tools, such as cans of spray paint and markers, a class C misdemeanor.

“This legislation based on the ‘intent’ to commit a crime just furthers the government control over the citizens of this country,” Kahuna wrote. “It is one step further toward a full police state.”

The Utah Senate killed the bill, on an 11-17 vote Thursday. Mayne said she sponsored the bill to give law enforcement more tools to deal with a vexing problem for communities. But some senators said the measure would punish people for their intent instead of their actions. The bill died on a 11-17 vote.

But the hacker said the while the bill may not be an issue anymore "we still want to bring awareness to their unsecure data that they should fix."

When asked just how many documents he was able to steal from the site, Kahuna wrote:

• 643 narcotic operation related documents

• 2,042 job application documents

• 77 police contact requests

• 228 traffic-related documents

• Numerous documents containing subscription information.

He said he was able to hack the site and through that gained a lot of admin logins and passwords. From there he was able to access an internal server and get more of that private information from the department.

Kahuna says he is the only person with a copy of all the stolen information, and he promised he would not release it. “I will not put innocent civilians at risk,” he said.

His message for those citizens who feel their information is in danger he writes: "To the citizens: Nothing in this is a target to you, we are not out to cause you any harm nor would we ever do so ..."

The hacker says Salt Lake City police are underplaying just how much sensitive and compromising information he was able to get.

On Tuesday, the police website was taken offline due to the hack. In a prepared statement, the department said hackers obtained email information of registered users, but that there was no indication that confidential information was comprised.

On Wednesday, they sent out an email saying they had learned that citizen complaints regarding drug crimes in the community were also accessed. These forms included phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, other personal information, and details about suspicious activity from a variety of sources. Other compromised information includes names and numbers of people who wanted to know more about job openings at the police department, but this did not include full resumes. 

“As a precaution, SLCPD advises you to change email passwords immediately, especially if you used the same password for the SLCPD website that you use at home or work,” the department said in an email.

"We like our website," Josephson said. "We want people to be able to access it and have that partnership with police department, but we're not going to just quickly put it up without knowing the extent of what has been compromised, as well as what we can do to safeguard this information in the future."

Salt Lake police say the hack doesn’t prevent them in any way from doing their job. The site will remain offline until they can make sure it’s secure.

Contributing: Marjorie Cortez

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