New Jersey mayor charged with hacking opponents' website

Posted by Emma Woollacott

A New Jersey mayor has been arrested for allegedly hacking a website that was calling for him to be recalled.

Felix Roque, the 55-year-old mayor of West New York, along with his 22-year-old son Joseph, allegedly hacked into the RecallRoque website and associated email system.

The site was set up in February to collect information about Roque's 'rampant mismanagement' and demand his recall. But within days, it's alleged, Joseph Roque had successfully hacked into various online accounts used in connection with the site, and managed to disable it.
 
Meanwhile, says the complaint, Mayor Roque kept himself busy by harassing and attempting to intimidate several people whom he'd learned were associated with the site.

"In this case, the elected leader of West New York and his son allegedly hacked into computers to intimidate constituents who were simply using the Internet to exercise their Constitutional rights to criticize the government," says US attorney Paul Fishman.

"We will continue to investigate and prosecute those who illegally hack into computers and disable websites with the goal of suppressing the exercise of that right."

The two have been charged with gaining unauthorized access to computers in furtherance of causing damage to protected computers; causing damage to protected computers; and conspiracy to commit those crimes. All three offenses could attract a $250,000 fine, plus jail sentences of up to five years.

The FBI's a bit miffed to have to put all the big glamorous stuff to one side and deal with something so trivial.

"It's incredibly disappointing that resources have to be diverted from protecting the US against cyber intrusions targeting critical infrastructure, federally funded research and military technology, to address a public official intruding into computer systems to further a political agenda," huffs FBI special agent in charge Michael Ward.