Breach puts information in peril
(By Josh Rabe)Published: Aug 25, 2007Someone hacked into computers at three Oklahoma law enforcement agencies and may havestolen private information meant only for police use, the state Department of Public Safetyannounced Friday.Details of the extent of the security compromise remained sketchy Friday, but officials said onlythe Elk City and Eufaula police departments and the Kiowa County Sheriff Department wereaffected.The Department of Public Safety is urging anyone who has had contact with those agencies tocheck for any suspicious charges on credit cards or to obtain a credit report as soon as possible.Even people pulled over for a traffic stop but not given a ticket could be at risk.
"Because this is an ongoing investigation, we are not able to release a lot of information,” said
Capt. Chris West, spokesman for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.West said he could not elaborate on how long security had been compromised at those locationsor how many people may be affected by the security breach.
"We believe it is a small number of individuals,” West said. "Those individuals will be contacted
e involved law enforcement agency.”
What was affected The breach involved information used by the Oklahoma Law EnforcementTelecommunications System, a statewide computer network used by dispatchers to obtain instantaccess to all types of local, state and federal law enforcement databases.Police dispatchers typically use the system to verify the status of driver licenses, vehicleregistration and to check for outstanding warrants and criminal history.Gene Thaxton, telecommunications director for the Department of Public Safety, said centralfiles for the system are stored at his agency and were not affected by the breach. The system isaccessible at roughly 380 terminals statewide at law enforcement agencies.ny information accessed by dispatchers that was displayed on their computer screen may havebeen sent to a third party by a computer virus found on the three affected computers.Both driver license numbers and Social Security numbers are listed in the database along withnames and addresses, Thaxton said.How it happened The security breach was the first discovered in the computer network, whichhas been in use since 1986.