ODESSA, Texas — Following a press conference by Odessa Mayor Javier Joven, the city council met Monday to hear a briefing from it’s IT department regarding a city data breach. After that discussion, they went into closed session for over 90 minutes before taking further action.
Mayor Joven read an affidavit that allows the investigation to move forward. The investigation will attempt to reveal whether the data breach happened internally or by a hacking externally, and how this all happened in the first place.
It was Wednesday, July 12th when the City of Odessa discovered the data breach.
On Monday, July 17th, an affidavit from Mayor Joven outlined details for the investigation. Those details included the belief that an employee failed to disable the email of former city attorney Natasha Brooks following her termination in December, finding that someone had used the email to send documents to a personal email account and government email account at Iowa Colony, Texas and that after Brooks' termination, consent was not given to her or anyone else to access the computer network or email system.
In the aftermath of this discovery, the city will look to do an internal review of it’s system at some point.
“There is going to have to be kind of a retooling of the system in how we [are] able to prevent this," said Mayor Joven. "Where the breakdowns were -- if there were breakdowns – and so that will be an internal assessment, an audit so to speak. Those internal policies and procedures that are going to have to come from the administration to be able to make sure that protocol is followed.”
Mayor Joven says the damages are unknown right now with what information has been accessed.
“The concern here, and it should be, is what is our liability? What is the liability to the city [and] what is the liability to the taxpayers? This is why this has to be taken very serious, and this is why the city council and the City of Odessa is taking this very seriously," said Mayor Joven.
With over 890 employees throughout the city’s network, the investigation might take some time.
“This is a very big system," said Mayor Joven. "There is a tremendous amount of information and...this investigation [will] be done tactfully with purpose and we have to take our time on it. And so, [we’ll] give our police department -- our chief -- to be able to do their job and to be able to do it diligently.”
Although the Odessa Police Department is leading the investigation, the affidavit will help by allowing the city to request the assistance of outside agencies. Those agencies include Google, since that was who the email account was with, and the attorney general of Texas.