Cyber attack hits Madison, Wisconsin, after police shooting of teen

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 10, 2015 1:37 PM

By Carey Gillam

(Reuters) - Cyber attackers have compromised computer systems at the Madison, Wisconsin, Police Department in retaliation for the police shooting death of a 19-year-old unarmed black man in the Wisconsin capital city, a police spokesman said Tuesday.

The cyber attack appears to be continuing and could be hitting other city and county websites beyond the police department, said police spokesman Joel DeSpain.

The attack, which began Monday afternoon, was thought to be initiated by Anonymous, an international network of activist computer hackers, in response to the fatal shooting of Tony Robinson by a white Madison police officer on Friday.

Robinson's death has sparked outrage and protests reminiscent of those seen in Ferguson, Missouri and other U.S. cities after the Aug. 9 police shooting of Michael Brown, 18, an unarmed African-American, by a white Ferguson police officer.

"We do know that Anonymous has claimed responsibility for this and there are people actively working to prevent it from damaging our ability to take care of business here," DeSpain said.

The attack was discovered around 4:30 p.m. CDT Monday when police officers discovered "intermittent connectivity issues" that escalated to complete outages with their computer systems, DeSpain said.

It is feared that cyber attacks might effect other city services and operations, DeSpain said.

Robinson was shot Friday evening after Officer Matt Kenny responded to calls about a man dodging cars in traffic who had allegedly battered another person, according to police officials.

Kenny is on paid administrative leave while the Wisconsin Department of Justice investigates the shooting.

(Editing by Bill Trott)