IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Odessa, Texas, Mayor Calls for Transparency in Breach Investigation

Odessa Mayor Javier Joven is demanding transparency around the investigation into a data breach that stemmed from a former city employee’s account. The account was not disabled after the employee’s termination.

data breach_shutterstock_1357654529
(TNS) — Odessa Mayor Javier Joven is taking action regarding a serious data breach, according to a news release from the City of Odessa.

Joven stated it's more than just about protocols and past failures; he is demanding transparency in the City of Odessa.

The mayor gave a list of facts, having to do with the data breech that the city claims involves a former city attorney. They include:
  • The Odessa City Council gave a unanimous consensus for the mayor to sign an affidavit that outlines the events leading up to finding out about this data breach.
  • The affidavit basically gives the authority for the investigation to continue and for the Odessa Police Department to obtain a warrant.
  • The City of Odessa will also request assistance from the Attorney General's office.

During a Special Council meeting Monday, the interim IT director for the City of Odessa released some preliminary findings, according to the city:
  • July 16, 2023 - Freedom of Information (FOI) request was fulfilled by IT Microsoft System Specialist and sent to Legal for review.
  • Legal department discovered emails being sent from the user account NBrooks after the termination date.
  • IT department confirmed that the NBrooks account was still active and that the mailbox had been accessed after the termination date.
  • IT Microsoft System Specialist changed the password for the account.
  • Odessa PD is investigating the issue and working closely with the IT Department.

"It has been discovered that accounts assigned to a terminated high-ranking employee have been recently accessed without authorization, and an investigation has been launched to determine who accessed the accounts and how," the City of Odessa reported. "Contrary to the City of Odessa policy, access to the city's computer network and systems was not removed after the appointment of the city attorney was terminated by the City Council."

To date, the investigation has revealed that the former city attorney's account was used to access the city's network numerous times, and this also happened as recently as last week, the City of Odessa reported.

"Sensitive information was then transferred by email to a private account," the City of Odessa reported. "An ongoing investigation indicates that a number of systems were accessed, such as Odessa Police Department reports, personnel information, and GovQA, which is the City's hosted system for public information requests."

Joven added, "Once the investigation concludes, the city will use all means available, including criminal charges, to ensure that everyone involved in this breach is punished to the full extent of the law.".

©2023 the Midland Reporter-Telegram, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.