Hacker Targets Minnesota Data in Retaliation for Yanez Verdict

The hacktivist also seems to already have plans in motion for additional hacks in the future.


ST. PAUL, Minn. – A hacker calling himself Vigilance gained access to a number of databases of Minnesota governmental entities, stealing emails and passwords in retaliation for Officer Jeronimo Yanez’ acquittal.

“Justice for #PhilandoCastile Mn.gov and mnstate.edu Hacked An innocent man is dead, while a guilty man is free,” Vigilance tweeted Sunday.

Targets included the Minnesota state government website, and Minnesota State University Moorhead.

In an interview with the Star Tribune via direct messages on Twitter, Vigilance told the paper the hack involved a total of 23 state databases, as well as the Moorhead databases. The state government hacks alone netted Vigilance around 1,400 emails of state employees and private citizens, although many passwords were not readily available.

Vigilance has posted hundreds of emails and passwords, as well as private addresses and phone numbers of people. These were published on Ghostbin, a “paste service” which allows users to upload up to one megabyte of plain text data. According to the site’s description it supports encryption, and allows users to set an expiration date on the public availability of the data they upload.

“I have attacked large Minnesotan targets for one purpose,” Vigilance wrote in a prepared statement. “Retaliation for Ex-Officer Yanez’s acquittal. I will be back with other hacks. I will be back with other objectives. The FBI is set to investigate me. I am confident my identity is safe. I have a plan, one that I cannot detail just yet, to ensure my safety.”

He told the Star Tribune he gained entry to the university’s files on June 5, the day testimony in the Yanez trial started. The state databases were breached the day the verdict of Yanez’ acquittal on one count of manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a weapon were reached.

Vigilance has made clear on his Twitter account he will continue to hack targets in retaliation for the verdict, in spite of his claim that the FBI is investigating his hacking activities. He has already claimed that the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities’ website suffers from poor security.