MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WALA) - The Director of the Alabama Department of Homeland Security and Director of the Information Services Division (ISD) addresses a "cyber-intrusion" at the ISD at a press conference Tuesday, January 29.
ISD is a part of the state's Department of Finance and is responsible for all Information Technology (IT) systems.
On January 16, ISD said they learned that someone breached its firewall and hacked into the system.
A new age has dawned - one in which virtually no one is safe from cyber warfare. Even if you don't have information online, chances are your banks or employers do. No one is spared, not even a state government.
"We are doing everything in our power to protect the evidence, maintain the confidentiality in a case of this nature and to prevent further intrusions," Homeland Security Director Spencer Collier said.
Officials said they don't know extent of the unauthorized access or what it will mean for the public, but multiple ISD computers were examined by at least one server containing malware, or malicious software.
"It is significant to note that ISD self-detected this intrusion," Collier said. "After becoming suspicious of unusual activities, ISD employees self-detected that the firewall protecting the state's IT system had been breached."
Immediately, a response team was formed to secure the system, protect evidence and conduct a forensic analysis.
Homeland Security notified state and federal authorities and opened a criminal investigation.
Collier had good news for Alabama citizens and families. He said his department does not believe personal information was jeopardized.
"We work for the people of Alabama. I understand the concerns about their private information being made public, but we are dealing with an issue that may take weeks, maybe months, to resolve," Collier said. "However, I cannot stress enough releasing sensitive information could jeopardize the process and the outcome of the investigation."
Because of that, Collier couldn't answer questions on whether this was the work of a cyber terrorist, if it was a group or an individual, or how long they were inside the system. All questions were met with the same response, "(The case is) under criminal investigation."
Until that's finished, we won't truly know who - or what - we're dealing with.
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