2017 U.S. Senate Race

Oops: Hackers Hijack Young Repubs Site, Send Viewers to Chinese Erotica

The link to the Greater Birmingham Young Republicans website was redirected to its Facebook page after the original website was hijacked.

The Alabama Republican Party website has been “bombarded” with hacking attempts over the past several days, according to Infomedia CEO John Lovoy.

Infomedia is a Birmingham-based web company that maintains ALGOP.gov, the Alabama GOP’s website. (Infomedia also maintains BirminghamWatch.org.)

Lovoy said that approximately 29,000 attempts to compromise ALGOP.gov have been noted this week. The origin of these attempts is currently unknown, Lovoy said, but Infomedia has had to increase security on the site to combat the attacks. As of Friday afternoon, Infomedia had not determined that any of the attempts had been successful.

The status of the Greater Birmingham Young Republicans (GYBR) website, linked to on ALGOP.gov, has raised concern, however. Until Friday afternoon, a link purportedly to that organization’s site from the Alabama GOP website’s “Clubs/Coalitions” page redirected, instead, to a Chinese-language site with erotic content. Representatives for the party said they had been unaware of that until notified by BirminghamWatch.

Lovoy said that Infomedia is looking into whether the problem with the link to the GBYR site was with the Alabama GOP website or with the GBYR’s own site.

GYBR’s actual web address ends in .org, while the address of the link Friday, which led to the Chinese-language site, ended in .us, he said. That raised a question of whether ALGOP.gov was hacked to make the change, he said.

The Alabama Republican Party recently removed support from GYBR after the group voted Thursday to pull its endorsement of Roy Moore, saying he “has yet to provide credible evidence or explanation to discredit these allegations.” They were responding to reports by multiple women that Moore made sexual advances toward them when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s.

Katie Lansford, the Alabama GOP’s director of communications and marketing, said the state party had “removed support” from the GBYR, though she refused to specify what exactly that removal of support constitutes. She said that she didn’t believe that the Chinese erotic site was linked to that removal of support.

Representatives for the Greater Birmingham Young Republicans did not immediately respond to requests for comment. By Friday evening, the link in question had been changed to direct to a Facebook group for the GBYR. However, a link reached through the Young Republican Federation of Alabama still was corrupted.

Carol Nunnelley contributed to this report.