After web attack, Howard County orders security audit

Kate Magill
Contact ReporterHoward County Times

Weeks after the Howard County government's website was hacked and pro-Islamic State messages were written on the site, County Executive Allan Kittleman announced Tuesday that an industry expert will work with the county to conduct an audit of the breach and of the public website's host, vendor DNN4Less.

The audit will include a review of the overall strength of the county's cybersecurity, as well as an assessment of the county's security practices, according to a statement from the county. This will occur as the FBI's investigation into the hack also continues.

The hack was detected the afternoon of June 25, and the website was taken offline as the county worked with its site host to remedy the security breach; the site was running normally by 9:45 a.m. the next day.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich's website as well as pages of local governments in Ohio and New York were also hacked and showed similar propaganda messages, though DNN4Less does not host these sites.

Several county offices will be part of the audit team, including the Office of Emergency Management and the Departments of Police, Fire and Rescue Services, Finance, Human Resources, Health and Community Resources and Services.

Kittleman also reaffirmed in his update that the hack did not breach any data on the public site. Howard County's website can be used to electronically pay personal bills and citations including parking tickets and personal property taxes.

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