Criminal Investigation Begins After City Of Tulsa's Website Hacked


Wednesday, September 19th 2012, 2:05 pm
By: News On 6


A criminal investigation has been launched after officials said the City of Tulsa's website was hacked.

News On 6 reported last week that city officials said there was an attempt to access one of the city's computer servers. That particular server hosts the City of Tulsa website.

The city is quick to say that they don't believe anyone's personal information was compromised, but they want website users to be aware of the situation.

If you log on to cityoftulsa.org you'll find a message saying the website is undergoing maintenance and is unavailable.

It's been this way since last week, when the city learned that someone tried to hack the server that hosts its website.

9/12/2012 Related Story: City Of Tulsa Website Temporarily Down After Being Hacked

The city said two specific areas were targeted: The place where people apply for a job with the city and the section that allows residents to report a crime.

The city has sent letters to those people warning them about the hack, but insists that the attempt to get data was unsuccessful.

Read the full letter sent to City of Tulsa customers.

"It sounds like they're being extra cautious in what they're doing," said Dr. John Hale.

Hale is the director of the Enterprise Security Lab at the University of Tulsa.

Researchers there work with the Department of Justice and the military on how to protect computer networks.

He said most hacks take place against banks or financial institutions, but as local governments begin to do more transactions online the hackers have shifted their focus.

"They may be seen as, maybe, softer targets by some cyber criminals, so it's not surprising. It may be a new trend," Hale said.

Hale said these attacks are increasingly being done by professionals or an organized group of some sort. He said they're not trying to get the information for their own use, but to gather it and sell it on the black market.

Hale said attacks like this are not that unusual and that the number of hacks that happen like this every day may surprise the average citizen.

"Because it's an ongoing, almost automated process every day, and most organizations that have that type of information are under constant assault at some level," Hale said.

Hale said the best thing someone who is worried their personal information is at risk can do is to monitor their credit.

The city's letter contained the numbers to credit agencies for worried residents to contact.