Data Breach Highlight: Camden County Courthouse Comprise
February 26, 2016 • RBS
How many impacted:
Occurred: January 20, 2016 Reported: February 5, 2016
Unknown persons compromised a courthouse computer hard drive containing e-mails belonging to county officials. Apparently the emails in question were the subject of an information request under Missouri’s Sunshine Law, intended to promote openness in the business dealing of Missouri’s governmental bodies. Court personnel had gathered up the emails for review and redaction prior to releasing the information. Before that process could be completed, persons unknown took it upon themselves to perform the ultimate redaction, wiping the hard drive completely clean.
In a possibly related incident, a confidential email between county officials and legal counsel mysteriously turned up in a courtroom drama playing out between the county and a land developer. Apparently the sensitive and presumably attorney-client-communication-protected email in question did not originate from the batch being held by the court for review. Rather, it seems it was pilfered from either the county’s planning and zoning department or from an associate commissioner’s email account.
Why It Matters:
With so much recent attention focused on the major leaks at the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the Fraternal Order of Police, it can be easy to assume it’s only the big name targets that face the risk of a politically motivated attack on data. Camden County, located in the rural heart of Missouri with a population of 44,000 spread across 700 square miles, is a prime example that stealing or destroying sensitive information is a top weapon of choice in political brawls, no matter how big or small the fight.
Organizations of all sizes – public and private alike – should monitor their overall position in the political landscape and evaluate the possibility their data could become the next target in the never-ending war of words that defines so much of today’s political discourse.