US mayor and son charged with hacking into opposition site

We'd rather be fending off global cyberwar, sniff Feds


A small town US mayor and his son have been arrested over allegations they hacked into a website calling for his recall.

Dr Felix Roque, 55, the mayor of West New York, New Jersey, and Joseph Roque, 22, of Passaic County, allegedly hacked into recallroque.com and illegally accessed e-mails in February. Joseph Roque is accused of gaining control of the administrative email account associated with the dot-com before interacting with its web host, Go Daddy, to shut the site down, The New York Times reports.

The father and son team also "sought to identify, intimidate and harass" those who operated the website and other critics of Roque's administration, the Department of Justice alleged:

By the late afternoon of February 8, 2012, Joseph Roque had successfully hacked into various online accounts used in connection with the recall website. Joseph Roque then used that access to disable the website. Mayor Roque harassed and attempted to intimidate several individuals whom he had learned were associated with the recall website.

The pair face conspiracy and computer hacking charges over the alleged political dirty tricks. Both charges carry possible fines on conviction of up to $250,000 and the risk of a substantial spell behind bars. The alleged abuse of public trust involved in the case means the charges are being treated especially seriously.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward commented: "In this instance, an elected official conspired to hack into a website and email account.

"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."

US Attorney Paul Fishman added: "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 criticise the government."

Mayor Roque only gained office last year after leading a successful recall against the previous mayor, Sal Vega, and beating him in the subsequent election. West New York has a population of 50,000 and is located around seven miles from Manhattan. It's unclear whether or not Roque, who describes himself as an "independent conservative democrat", intends to resign as a result of the charges, The Jersey Journal reports. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Robotics and 5G to spur growth of SoC industry – report
    Big OEMs hogging production and COVID causing supply issues

    The system-on-chip (SoC) side of the semiconductor industry is poised for growth between now and 2026, when it's predicted to be worth $6.85 billion, according to an analyst's report. 

    Chances are good that there's an SoC-powered device within arm's reach of you: the tiny integrated circuits contain everything needed for a basic computer, leading to their proliferation in mobile, IoT and smart devices. 

    The report predicting the growth comes from advisory biz Technavio, which looked at a long list of companies in the SoC market. Vendors it analyzed include Apple, Broadcom, Intel, Nvidia, TSMC, Toshiba, and more. The company predicts that much of the growth between now and 2026 will stem primarily from robotics and 5G. 

    Continue reading
  • Deepfake attacks can easily trick live facial recognition systems online
    Plus: Next PyTorch release will support Apple GPUs so devs can train neural networks on their own laptops

    In brief Miscreants can easily steal someone else's identity by tricking live facial recognition software using deepfakes, according to a new report.

    Sensity AI, a startup focused on tackling identity fraud, carried out a series of pretend attacks. Engineers scanned the image of someone from an ID card, and mapped their likeness onto another person's face. Sensity then tested whether they could breach live facial recognition systems by tricking them into believing the pretend attacker is a real user.

    So-called "liveness tests" try to authenticate identities in real-time, relying on images or video streams from cameras like face recognition used to unlock mobile phones, for example. Nine out of ten vendors failed Sensity's live deepfake attacks.

    Continue reading
  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022