Anyone can turn into a hacker. In this court case, the mayor of West New York, NJ, Felix Roque, and his son, Joseph Roque, hacked into the website, www.recallroque.com (site is no longer available) and proceeded to harass the site owner and some of the citizens who signed up to support the site. The website was established to comment and criticize the Major and the job he was doing for the city. Obviously Mayor Roque didn’t take too kindly to this use of free speech and decided to illegally shut down the website.
Digital forensics showed that Roque (and his son) conspired to hack and disable the website. They started with publicly available information, reset the password, and then was able to “cancel” the domain. Using a fake name and email account, the Mayor sent a message to the site owner stating, “I’m not sure why this is being held as a secret organization we need to stand up and fight and get our town back! I have good info for you but I do not want my name exposed for fear of retaliation so if we can please meet to discuss or even a phone call will do.” In addition to trying to lure out the website owner, the Mayor attempted to intimidate and harass other victims by stating to his son, “look at a Facebook page run by Maria pascuale” and to “let me know what we can do.”
These acts were egregious to say the least. For Users and Small Business Owners, the lesson is to be aware of the information you use to run your website, especially if the site will be controversial. Where possible use an alias and keep your personal information to a minimum. Also, if you suspect that you are being harassed, start to keep an electronic paper trail. Keep emails, save voice messages, and get the police and your telecom provider involved early.
Don’t let this case deter you from venturing online. These amateur hackers almost always get caught. Digital Forensics has come a long way so it is very difficult to use the internet to commit a crime and not get caught, eventually.