Montreal police database hacked; personal information posted online

MONTREAL – Last week, the Montreal’s police department database was hacked and information about officers posted on the Internet.

Hundreds of names, positions and telephone numbers of employees and managers have been circulating on the web since Feb. 9, accompanied by a warning signed by “The People”:

“This is a warning to withhold violence during the Education Summit . . . disobey your orders, find the dignity to know the difference between right and wrong, and the courage to act on that. We are only asking that you open your eyes to the injustice you commit, the corruption you enable and the name you are defending.”

According to a report in Quebec newspaper La Presse, the cyber attack is being investigated by the Montreal police (SPVM), the Sûreté du Québec and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). However, none of those organizations would confirm that an investigation was underway or that an attack had taken place.

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Martin Desrochers, Director of Communications for the Montreal’s police union, the Fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal had no official comment on Tuesday.

But the union’s president, Yves Francoeur told La Presse that he was concerned.

“We already knew that our computer system was archaic,” he said. “If they had access to SPVM data, it means that they also had access to personal addresses. This endangers families and children.”

This is not the first time that the Montreal police has been targeted. Last spring, a group calling itself Anonymous Quebec claimed responsibility for a wave of cyber attacks in reaction to the adoption of the controversial Bill 78 passed by the former provincial Liberal government.

In May 2012, hackers disabled more than a dozen websites, including those of Quebec’s Education Department and Department of Public Safety, the Quebec Liberal party and the Montreal police force.

The cyber attacks also extended to Formula One car-race spectators, who had personal information published online.

In June 2012, six people – including three minors – were arrested and charged in connection with the attacks that paralyzed Quebec websites.

Those charged appeared via videoconference before a judge at Montreal’s courthouse on June 19. At that time, police said in a statement that “. . . they take this kind of crime very seriously.”

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“They will use every means at their disposition to find the authors. These people expose themselves to criminal charges, regardless of whatever intention prompted their action.”

– With files from The Canadian Press