MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Police are in a dangerous job to begin with but the danger has now been increased by nefarious fingers on a keyboard.
Circulating online is a searchable database revealing the names, birth dates and home addresses of more than 7,500 South Florida police officers, prosecutors, judges and other public officials whose personal information is — or was — protected by law.
Cops call it scary.
“It involves the safety and security of our police officers and their families, and we have seen many a time when officers have been targeted just by the mere nature of their profession,” said John Rivera, president of the Police Benevolent Association representing Miami-Dade officers and several other municipal departments.
The hacking of the personal information for those in law enforcement has prompted multiple investigations.
Special Agent Mike Leverock of the Miami FBI office told CBS4 News, “We are aware of the matter and are looking into it,” declining to provide further detail. Among those on the online database are FBI agents, Secret Service agents and Homeland Security agents.
Russian hackers ostensibly broke into the classified data at the behest of some who are angry over perceived police abuses.
Online comments include references to the case of Claudia Castillo, a citizen whose dash cam recorded a speeding Miami-Dade officer who she pulled over on an expressway ramp in January. The officer apologized, but the president of Miami’s police union posted a photo of Castillo online, apparently drinking a beer while operating a boat. Her cell phone number was also posted.
In Palm Beach County, some have decried allegedly heavy-handed police tactics against minorities and other alleged abuses.
Eight days ago, South Florida’s Homeland Security task force, or Fusion Center, issued an alert to law enforcement agencies saying that those on the hacked list should be “vigilant of your surroundings and report any suspicious activity.”
Some cops are angry they learned of the security breach from the media, not their agency or county hall.
“We find that disgusting because for the past two weeks our officers, their information, was out there and no one knew about it,” said the PBA’s Rivera.
A quick review of the thousands of hacked names reveal at least a dozen Miami-Dade judges on the list. One judge, who spoke not for attribution, said he was dismayed to learn from CBS4 News that his name, date of birth and home address had been posted online.
No one apparently knows how the thousands of names and addresses were culled by the hackers.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s office issued a statement Friday saying, “We cannot confirm whether information was compromised through county systems or other sources.”
In any event, police and others who have to watch their backs on the jobs now must be on the lookout at home, as well.
As of Friday evening, the data base of public officials — that span from South Florida to the panhandle — remained on the web.
CBS4 News is not reporting the address of the primary website that has posted the information.