The online hacking group Anonymous made threats to the city of Fort Lauderdale, resulting in the city taking down it's website this afternoon.
By 6:18 p.m., the city's website was back up.
The FBI is responding to inquiries from Fort Lauderdale officials regarding the hacking threat.
Anonymous made the threats related to the city’s controversial laws about feeding the homeless outdoors.
“Fellow citizens of the world and Fort Lauderdale,” says the computer generated voice in the video. “We are anonymous. It has come to our attention that Mayor John P. Seiler has become an embarrassment to the good law-abiding citizens of the city of Fort Lauderdale and arresting Arnold Abbott who is 90 and served our country for feeding the homeless. You are a disgrace Mayor John Seiler there we have a list of demands if not met then we shall shut down the main site of Fort Lauderdale.”
The group, calling it's mission OperationLifttheBans, demands that the city lift the ordinances that ban panhandling at busy intersections, sleeping in downtown area and prohibits handing out food unless certain requirements are met. “You have 24 hours or less. ... 24 hours to comply with our demands or the site will be shut down along with other sites belonging to Fort Lauderdale.”
Mayor Seiler told the Miami Herald at about 5 p.m. that he didn't have an estimate regarding when the website will be back up.
“We are upgrading and updating our website to address some threats that were made,” Seiler said.
Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Dean Trantalis said that the city manager sent an email to commissioners at about 6 p.m. that stated: “it appears a group has sought to create a denial of service on our website through our internet service provider. We are working with our provider to restore service at this time.”
City spokesman Matt Little told the Herald that he received an email from IT at 4:04 p.m. that city officials were working on the website.
The city of Fort Lauderdale’s latest attempt to regulate outdoor homeless feedings made international news when police nabbed "Chef Arnold" -- a 90-year-old caught in the act of such a public feeding.
"One of the police officers said, 'Drop that plate right now,' as if I were carrying a weapon," Arnold Abbott said, recalling his early November arrest for the Associated Press.
Miami Heralds federal courts reporter Jay Weaver contributed to this blog.
(This blog post was updated after interviews including with Mayor Seiler and Commissioner Trantalis.)