Maine gov’t says state systems were not breached despite hacking group’s claims

Maine government officials denied that a notorious hacking group breached their systems after the gang boasted of stealing information this week. 

The GhostSec hacking group posted to Telegram on Thursday claiming that they stole 40 GB of data from Maine’s government websites. The group provided a zip file of the data they stole. 

But Sharon Huntley, director of communications for Maine’s Department of Administrative and Financial Services, said their IT team confirmed that the group simply downloaded public-facing information that is available on Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) website.

“According to an assessment by MaineIT, a shared folder of publicly available DEP documents, totaling 43 gigabytes, was gathered by the international hacking group GhostSec Thursday morning, February 9, 2023. MaineIT was alerted by Homeland Security after the GhostSec group posted on social media,” Huntley told The Record. 

“MaineIT confirmed that there was no breach to a State of Maine system, and no confidential data was leaked. In coordination with MaineIT’s technology partners in Maine and out of an abundance of caution, the folder was temporarily disabled while the DEP confirmed that all contents within the folder were designated for public use. That folder has now been restored.”

The alleged hacktivist group previously expressed support for Ukraine and last month announced a hack of a Russian telecom service. Many experts believe GhostSec is an offshoot of the Anonymous hacking group, and first gained attention after hacking and defacing websites run by the terrorist group ISIS. 

Fictitious hacks of state-level agencies in the U.S. have become more and more common in the last few years as groups attempt to make a name for themselves with outlandish claims. 

A group calling itself SiegedSec claimed it hacked the government of Arkansas last year after the state banned abortion following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade

But state officials later confirmed that the group simply downloaded publicly available record data. 

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