You have to give Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel credit for one thing: the guy knows how to stay on message.
Now engaged in his second run for the US Senate seat held by Democrat Sherod Brown, Mandel is using the Donald Trump 2016 Presidential Election Playbook as his messaging guide. And he followed the guide to the letter earlier today after discovering that some Ohio government websites were defaced with pro-ISIS messages.
“Wake up freedom-loving Americans,” Mandel wrote on Facebook. “Radical Islam infiltrating the heartland.” The post included an image of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitations and Corrections website, which was defaced to include anti-Trump messages and the phrase “I Love Islamic state.” A number of other Ohio government websites, including that of Governor John Kasich, were also impacted. All are operated by the Ohio Department of Administrative Services and all, as of the publishing of this article, are still “currently down for maintenance.”
The group responsible for the attack call themselves Team System DZ. The website Zone-H has documented thousands of other websites around the world defaced by the group. In 2014, they hacked the website of a Rugby team in the UK. In 2015 they hacked a food truck in Ontario Canada. Because, umm, you know, ISIS hates sports sandwiches… or something.
The group’s Facebook page also documents their attacks, which seem to be limited to exploiting security flaws in government and corporate websites. The attacks replace existing content with poorly worded anti-government messages. Their latest Facebook post lists all of the Ohio websites they hacked. The website of Ohio’s first lady, Karen Kasich, is included first and images from her site are visible within the post.
The group’s previous Facebook post brags about defacing the website of a French movie theater and the site of a French company that sells discount beauty products and discount haircuts. Allez savoir pourquoi!
It’s clear Mandel thinks he can beat Sherod Brown by tacking hard to the right again.
He tried the same thing during the last election cycle by denouncing gay marriage. That worked out very, very poorly for him.
This cycle he seems to think he needs to play the Trump-inspired anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant cards.
At this point, it doesn’t appear that the outcome will be any different in 2018.