The University of New Brunswick Student Union’s website was hacked on Monday night by apparent supporters of the militant group ISIS.
For about two hours on Monday night, the website claimed to be hacked by “Team System Dz” and said, “I love you ISIS.”
It also had a message that said, "This is a time.... of the elimination of America and the allies of the infidels."
Greg Bailey, the UNBSU president, said the student union contacted the police and the company that hosts the site as soon as it learned of the hacking.
"We've had a lot of people contact us and ask what's going on. We're just telling them it just an act of vandalism. It's no threat to anyone on campus," Bailey said.
"It would be no different than if someone came in here and spray painted our office. They defaced our site but we got it cleaned up in a couple of hours," he added.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which is also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has become an internationally feared organization.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other government MPs have warned that jihadists from ISIS could attack Canada.
A divided House of Commons voted last Tuesday in favour of sending Canadian aircraft and personnel to join coalition airstrikes in Iraq against ISIS targets.
The hackers are a part of an Algerian Technology News Website committed to spreading the perspective of Arab youth peacefully.
In an email, the hackers explained why the New Brunswick websites were selected.
"Canada sites have been targeted because they are within the group of the coalition against the Islamic state," the email said.
Other hacking targets
The UNB Student Union was not the only target for the Algerian group.
Saint John-based ICS said up to 10 of its customers, including the Saint John Arts Centre, were also hacked by the same group.
ICS refused to speak on camera, but an official said the company is changing all of its passwords, patching software and is switching host server providers.
One technology strategist said hacking of this nature should not be viewed as out of the ordinary.
"It's the 21st century and this is essentially the wild west of our era," said David Shipley, an enterprise strategy analyst at UNB.
"There are no real laws. There's no effective governance structure. There certainly are no rules of warfare. And it's happening every minute. It is the challenge of our times."
Shipley said software tools allow anyone with a basic knowledge to scan the internet for vulnerable sites.
The technology strategist said many websites are hacked without anyone in the public noticing.
"It's the hacks that you don't hear about at the time, that are the most damaging," he said.