TAMPA, Fla. — Mayor Bob Buckhorn kicked off the annual Gasparilla race this morning, days after his Twitter account was hacked.
10News spoke to the mayor in an exclusive interview, the first on TV since the incident.
“Obviously it was disturbing, it was pornographic, it was racist. It was really unfortunate," Buckhorn said. "But the worst part was the threats they made to Tampa International Airport that could have potentially put a lot of people at risk.”
The hackers started tweeting at 4 a.m. Thursday, and the attack lasted for hours.
Buckhorn was on a hunting trip and was unaware of the attack.
“You know, I never saw it because I was hunting and I was that far in the woods that I couldn’t get to it," Buckhorn said.
The mayor is now committed to seeking justice. Saying, “We’re going to hunt them down, and we’re going to find who they are, and we’re going to prosecute them.”
Unfortunately, that could prove hard to do. As cyber-security expert Jeremy Rasmussen explained, "A savvy attacker, someone who is smart enough to compromise someone’s account like this, could go through a couple steps to obfuscate." Or in other words, hide their identity and location.
When we told Rasmussen the mayor's office to find and prosecute the actors responsible, he simply replied, "I would say good luck with that."
Cyber-security cases like these tend to be difficult to prosecute, which is why protecting yourself from possible attacks is important -- a lesson Buckhorn has learned.
“We’ve added a number of different layers to it. Obviously, we’ve changed a lot of passwords. We made people more aware of the vulnerable points in our system," he said. "So we’re doing everything that’s been recommended to us.”
And he also had some recommendations for the citizens of Tampa.
“It’s a lesson for everybody, to re-check your passwords, to change your passwords, add whatever layers of security that you need," Buckhorn said. "Because if they can hack our system, which is pretty well protected, just imagine that you as a citizen or consumer, what they could do.”
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