Minneapolis websites hit with apparent cyberattacks amid civic unrest

Possible hacktivists over the weekend may have taken advantage of the civic unrest and protests taking place in Minneapolis, temporarily crippling two city websites in the wake of the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer who has been arrested on murder charges.

The websites of the city of Minneapolis and its police department were rendered temporarily inoperable last Saturday, reported Bloomberg, and the next morning online visitors reportedly were greeted by a “captcha” requirement to verify they weren’t bots.

The website outages followed a threat by the hacktivist group Anonymous, which publicly threatened retaliation over Floyd's death, which has prompted widespread protests across the nation. There is no confirmed connection, however, between the Anonymous threat and the apparent cyberattacks on Minneapolis institutions.

Anonymous’ purported private group on Facebook, adorned by its ubiquitous Guy Fawkes mask icon, posted a video viewed 2.7 million times that the Minneapolis police department had “a horrific track record” of violence and corruption, and questioned whether justice would be ultimately served in Floyd’s wrongful death. “We are a legion,” Anonymous on Facebook threatened.

The latest apparent cyberattacks attacks on Minneapolis come on the heels of another reported DoS attack early Thursday morning -- one for which no entity took responsibility.

As a response to the similar killing in 2014 of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Anonymous actors launched cyberattacks against that city’s website.

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