A NUMBER of government entities, tertiary institutions and private companies last year felt the wrath of former disgruntled workers and other mischievous persons who hacked their websites, in some instances plastering pornographic material all over them.
Data from the Communication Forensics and Cybercrime Unit (CFCU) indicates that during 2012, some 229 websites belonging to government entities, tertiary institutions and the private sector were hacked.
Senior Superintendent of Police Clifford Chambers, head of the Organised Crime Investigation Division, said a little more than 140 government websites were defaced by hackers.
He told The Gleaner yesterday that the hackers tampered with information on the websites and made changes that were not in the best interest of the entities.
"A lot of them that we are seeing are disgruntled employees who were fired or dismissed, and they would find a way to go on the entities' websites and provide information or put up pornographic material on it, so that legitimate persons who go on and see these things may be turned off and lose interest and so they would lose business," he explained.
Chambers revealed that several persons were charged in relation to these incidents last year.
The senior policeman pointed out that while the incidence of cyber extortion has been reduced in recent times, Jamaicans should be cautious when putting personal information on Facebook and other social websites.
According to Chambers, some hackers have the capabilities and mechanisms, to block individuals from their websites and capture personal information.
Hackers often demand cash
He said the hackers often demand cash in exchange for freeing up the website and when the money was obtained, they would again allow the individual access.
Chambers said that since a major player in cybercrimes extortion was arrested, the number of offences of uploading personal photographs from persons' websites and publishing them has fallen.
Also, the CFCU's caseload for the last two years averaged 1,700 active cases involving one or more digital media devices such as a laptop, desktop, thumb drive or other media item.
The cybercrime unit is also reporting an increase in credit and debit-card fraud.