Ithaca, N.Y. — Someone claiming to have ties to the terrorist group ISIS has hacked a blog that publishes news about Ithaca real estate.

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Readers of IthacaBuilds.com, a site run by local project manager Jason Henderson, were greeted by the following message Friday afternoon:

Henderson said in an interview Friday afternoon that web hosting staff confirmed that he had been hacked.

Henderson said he had no idea why his site, which generally supports downtown density and analyzes problems related to affordable housing, would have aroused the ire of the global terrorist group.

(Full disclosure: Ithaca Builds blog posts are sometimes reprinted in the Ithaca Voice, as in here and here.)

Relaying what he had been told by the web hosting service, Henderson said that his WordPress site had not been updated in some time  — possibly exposing it to a hack.

“Somehow they used a WordPress exploit,” Henderson said of the hackers, who claimed to be “Abdellah Elmaghribi.”

“Consider this a PSA: Update all of your plugins.”

The name “Abdellah Elmaghribi” has been tied to several other apparently random hacks of websites around the world, including that of a British soccer team and an Autism site in Ireland.

Additionally, a non-profit in Alabama called The Red Barn had a similar attack to the one on Ithaca Builds, according to AL.com. That hacker also identified himself by the name, “moroccanwolf.”

AL.com reported:

“The Red Barn’s website was hacked late Friday by someone using the screenname moroccanwolf … For several days, a hacker’s message remained on The Red Barn’s website, declaring sympathy for the Islamic State.”

Henderson, of Ithaca Builds, he was now doing what he could to remedy the problem.

“I’ve got to go through all my domain folders now: Every single one of them has these bogus index files,” Henderson said.

Henderson, who is also a Cornell graduate student, said he was baffled by the hack.

“I don’t know why they did this,” he said. “I just had construction photos.”

The hack seems unlikely to be ideologically motivated. As of 3 p.m., “Ithacating” — a blog that also publishes news related to Ithaca construction and architecture — appeared to be running normally.


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.