Odessa Police investigating city data breach
ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - The Odessa Police Department is investigating a data breach at the City of Odessa linked to the email of former City Attorney Natasha Brooks.
“The investigation is searching if the breach happened within or without if there was an outside hacking, without the authorization or knowledge of the former employee, or was it with the direct actions of the former employee or within the City of Odessa,” said City of Odessa Mayor Javier Joven.
In December of 2022, the council fired Brooks. Months after her termination, in the process of gathering documents for a recent public information request, the council discovered the email had not been deactivated and had been illegally accessed.
Sensitive information including personnel information, Odessa Police Department reports, and the city’s hosted system for public information requests, was accessed and there was a transfer of emails to a private account.
“There is a number of emails at this point and other data that is basically around
the 200 number that’s a fluid number,” said Joven.
Joven says a main concern is the illegal act in itself.
“The question that council has and that I have right now and the council has, you know in the act is there a criminal offense, we don’t know and is there a criminal offense for every act I don’t know and that’s what I’m hoping the investigation will be able to reveal,” said Joven.
Former City Employee Michael Parrish was the IT director at the time of the breach. He was fired at the end of June and it’s unclear why he never deactivated Brooks’ email following her termination.
“Charges are ensured with anyone involved in this breach and the City of Odessa will pursue within the law any criminal charges to the fullest extent of the law,” said Joven.
Following an executive session earlier today, Joven signed an affidavit stating the City of Odessa did not give Brooks or anyone else consent to access the account following her termination. We will continue to follow this story.
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