Texas County to Block State Network Access for Security

Joey Fenley, head of Palo Pinto County’s IT department, told commissioners he plans to block all outside efforts to access the county’s network for cybersecurity reasons, even in the case of a mandated state audit.

by David May, Mineral Wells Index / August 21, 2019
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(TNS) — If state officials want to perform a security or other audits of the local elections office, they may have to come to Palo Pinto to do it.

Joey Fenley, head of Palo Pinto County’s Information Technology department, said allowing remote access to the county’s network through an offsite connection – such as software using a virtual private network – puts the county’s network at risk of receiving a virus or, worse, ransomware. He said it is a breach of the county’s network security protocols.

Fenley questions why the state would perform a network security audit using an insecure method.

“It’s done by a third party and you don’t know who they are,” Fenley told the Index.

He told commissioners Monday he learned of one county that had its network compromised shortly after allowing an offsite audit. Finley told commissioners he plans to block all outside efforts to access the county’s network, even if it is for a mandated state audit.

“The sad part is it is the state getting hacked and it’s the state getting infected and they are infecting other networks,” Fenley told the court.

He said the county’s voting system and machines are never connected to the Internet to prevent hacking and preserve their security and integrity.

©2019 the Mineral Wells Index (Mineral Wells, Texas). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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