[ISN] FBI probes possible hacking

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Thu Aug 26 06:01:04 EDT 2004


By Derek Simmonsen 
staff writer
August 26, 2004

FORT PIERCE -- The FBI is investigating whether someone broke into the
police chief's computer and distributed his e-mails to the public.

The investigation began in late July after copies of e-mails
apparently written by Chief Eugene Savage to his secretary, Rosetta
Smith, were sent anonymously in the mail to several people, police
spokeswoman Audria Moore said Wednesday.

Copies were sent to Savage and Smith, as well as to members of the
news media and some City Hall employees. It is not clear if the
e-mails were legitimate or forgeries, she said.

"We don't know if these e-mails came from here, if they were retrieved
from our records," Moore said.

After a brief internal investigation, the police department asked the
FBI to take over the investigation. Special Agent Judy Orihuela, an
FBI spokeswoman, said she could not comment on the investigation.

The e-mails appeared to contain allegations of a personal nature
regarding Savage and Smith, according to those who viewed the e-mails.

In a written statement, Savage said allegations in the e-mails have
"no foundation."

"This is a personal attack on my character and I am seeking a personal
legal solution against the person(s) disseminating the damaging
information," he wrote.

Savage and Smith turned their copies of the e-mails over to the FBI,
Moore said.

Fort Pierce officials expressed support for Savage and concern that
police department computers -- and possibly city computers -- could be

"It appears that someone illegally hacked a police department computer
and is removing information from that computer," said City Manager
Dennis Beach. "An investigation into how that happened is under way."

Beach, who said he spoke briefly to Savage on Wednesday about the
possible computer security breach, said he has full confidence in the
chief. The lapse in computer security remains worrisome, he said.

"There's certainly sensitive, or should I say, confidential
information in (city computers)," Beach said. "If a hacker is
successful in getting into (a police department computer), he could be
successful in getting into another and could wreak havoc, if he's
inclined to do so."

Commissioner R. "Duke" Nelson said he was shown a transcript of the
e-mails this week.

"I don't know how valid they are," he said. "There was nothing on them
that indicated that they were valid.

"I have the utmost confidence in Chief Savage and in the police
department," Nelson said. "We'll have to wait and see what the
investigation reveals."

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