Sometime yesterday, 17 September, hackers took over the websites of Silicon Valley’s Embarcadero Media Group, publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly, the Almanac, the Mountain View Voice, the Pleasanton Weekly, and Palo Alto Online. The group’s newspapers and websites are a key source of local news for Silicon Valley residents, and the Palo Alto Weekly is credited as being the first newspaper in the U.S. to make all of its content available online.
The hackers initially replaced the websites’ normal pages with the image above. At the moment, however, the sites are not loading. The message reads in part:
“Greetings, This site has been hacked.
“Embarcadero Media Group (Almanac) has failed to remove content that has been harmful to the safety and well being of others.
“Failure to honor all requests to remove content will lead to the permanent shutdown of all Embarcadero Media Group Websites….
“We do not forgive, we do not forget, we are legion.”
Embarcadero News Group management has indicated that it will release a statement shortly.
Update: According to a statement issued by Jocelyn Dong, editor of the Palo Alto Weekly, the hackers took over the sites at 10:30 pm Pacific Time on Thursday. The sites are now offline, and the organization is working to restore them. In the meantime, Dong suggests readers visit the publications’ Facebook pages.
Embarcadero Media Group CEO Bill Johnson stated: “It was an intentionally malicious act. The message indicated a dispute with the Almanac newspaper but didn’t point to any specific article or information, so we really don't know what the significance of that statement is.”
The Palo Alto police department is investigating the incident.
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.