Randolph County government website taken over by hacker

ASHEBORO, N.C. -- How safe is your personal information? What about your computer? Do you check the security settings on it constantly?

With Monday's Capital One data breach affecting millions, and Tuesday's Randolph County website hack, people are concerned this is becoming a troubling trend.

"It was just a vulgar political statement placed on our front webpage," said Hal Johnson, the Randolph County manager.

For nearly seven hours Tuesday morning, the Randolph County website showed a picture of a masked man, holding up a sign saying "Join the Revolution" and sharing anti-government beliefs.

"We learn from the situations like this," Johnson said.

He says it was a team effort to quickly block the hackers and investigators think they know who is responsible.

"Vanda the God' has hacked over 50 some local governments and organizations," Johnson said.

Experts are still working to see if these hacks are all connected.

The Brazil-based group has been tweeting out different government websites they claim they have hacked.

They even retweeted FOX8's article on Randolph County's attack.

Randolph County's IT team is still making adjustments to their cybersecurity system.

"They've conducted a forensic search on our computers to determine how they were able to access a well-defended computer operation," Johnson said. "They've identified that and have taken steps so that it could not happen again."

Homeland Security is now getting involved.

Johnson is thankful the attack is over but says that this is an important lesson everyone should learn from.

"With cyber attacks like that, not only against our local governments but against businesses and private citizens, you have to be aware of the world we're living in," Johnson said. "And how really dangerous it can be if you don't take precautions."

Prevention is crucial.

"People definitely need to educate themselves not only on hacking but on malware and all brands of malicious activity that goes on," said Michael Dunn, the Randolph Community College Network Administrator.

He says everyone should take precautions and download software to prevent any attacks on their personal or business computers.

"Being able to avoid any kind of virus on your computer and any kind of malware is going to help prevent any credential harvesting," Dunn said. "[Like] people trying to steal your passwords or stealing your logins for any account you have saved on your computer."

FOX8 called surrounding counties to see what they're doing in response to these attacks.

Davidson County was hit by hackers in February 2018.

A representative with Davidson County tells FOX8 that Tuesday's attack made them nervous.

When the IT team heard about the hacks hitting governments last week, they made sure that all of their systems were secure.

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