Metro Weekly

“Gay Furries” Claim to Have Hacked State Government Websites

The SiegedSec group claims to have carried out the hacks in protest of states' policies limiting access to gender-affirming care.

Photo Illustration: Iryna Kuznetsova, Dreamstime

A group of hackers identifying themselves as “gay furries” has claimed responsibility for hacking into a Texas government website, along with several other state-level databases.

“Furries” refers to a subset of individuals who occasionally dress up as anthropomorphic animals for fun, camaraderie, or sex. While they wear the costumes, participants temporarily identify as animals and may even display some animal-like behaviors while retaining the ability to speak and move about like humans.

In the case of the Fort Worth breach, the group, known as SiegedSec, said it had stolen approximately 500,000 files from a site linked to the city on June 23.

The group’s actions were reportedly taken in retaliation for anti-transgender policies pushed by Texas state lawmakers, according to The Guardian

“We have decided to make a message towards the U.S. government,” the group posted on the social network Telegram, boasting of the Fort Worth breach. “Texas happens to be one of the largest states banning gender-affirming care and for that, we have made Texas our target. Fuck the government.”

According to the Daily Dot, the hackers released various files, including work orders, employee lists, invoices, police reports, emails, and internal documents.

SiegedSec claimed it was able to access Fort Worth’s database after obtaining login credentials from a city employee. 

In a statement to the Daily Dot, YourAnonWolf, a prominent member of the hacking group, said that Fort Worth was just one of several governments it plans to target.

“We targeted Fort Worth mostly because it was a vulnerable target in a list we had, we were checking any government domain associated with Texas,” YourAnonWolf said. “This is the start of a campaign against all states banning gender-affirming care, we have a few more attacks planned soon.”

City officials confirmed the breach, but clarified that the breach affected a system for internal work orders, seeking to assure the public that no sensitive information had been compromised.

“I want to emphasize that through our investigations we have found no indication that there has been sensitive information related to either residents or businesses or employees that have been released as part of this incident,” Kevin Gunn, Fort Worth’s IT Solutions Director, said in a news conference on June 24.

“Those attachments include things like photographs, spreadsheets, invoices for work performed, PDF documents, emails between staff, and other information related to work orders,” Gunn said. “No indication that any other systems were accessed, nor any other evidence of sensitive information such as social security or banking information was accessed or released.”

A similar statement was posted on the city’s official website.

The move comes after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law prohibiting transgender minors from accessing gender-affirming treatments.

Abbott also previously issued an executive order directing state child welfare agencies to investigate parents of trans-identifying children for “child abuse” if they are believed to have allowed their child to access gender-affirming care, such as hormones or puberty blockers.

While the courts ultimately blocked Abbott’s order, the ban on gender-affirming care, set to take effect on Sept. 1, effectively achieves what Abbott sought to do — namely, intimidate parents and personal physicians into not pursuing gender-affirming care for minors.

Additionally, independently of the order, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services — headed by an Abbott appointee — has been investigating the parents of transgender children as a matter of policy, with an eye towards prosecuting the parents or removing transgender children from their custody. 

Last year, a Texas judge issued an order blocking the state from investigating parents of transgender children who belong to the national LGBTQ advocacy group PFLAG while they challenge the constitutionality and validity of the investigations. The judge’s order is limited, and only applies to parents who are members of PFLAG, meaning investigations of other families may continue.

According to The Guardian, the SiegedSec Telegram account was created in April 2022. Since its creation, the account has posted multiple links to data breaches, claiming responsibility for several.

Among the sites or databases, the group claims to have hacked are those for the Pennsylvania Provider Self-Service, a platform hosted by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services; the Nebraska Supreme Court; the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council; South Carolina Justice Information Services; and the South Dakota Board of Commissions.

Both Nebraska and South Dakota currently have bans on gender-affirming care in place, and South Carolina lawmakers have proposed similar restrictions.

The group previously launched similar attacks in Arkansas and Kentucky in response to those states’ actions to ban or severely limit abortion access following the overturn of Roe v. Wade, according to The Messenger.

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