by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG — (Friday, May 13 11:30 am) Walsenburg finance and billing departments are working to recreate customer files after the City of Walsenburg’s main computer system was discovered to have been hacked into on Wednesday night.
Walsenburg Administrator Leslie Klusmire told the World Journal this morning that while the hacker did delete much of the information on the server, nothing was removed and no utilities customer’s private information was compromised.
On Wednesday night, Walsenburg Finance Director Carolyn Tice was working late and suddenly found she could not access information from the city’s computer system server. Authorities were notified and work to restore the system began late this week. The city has an intergovernmental agreement in place with Huerfano County to share their Information Technology Department and they have been on the job at city hall this week.
Earlier today Tice said approximately three-quarters of the information in the municipal accounting system, Caselle, had been restored, although the utilities clerks were still hand writing customer’s receipts on Friday.
Another attempted hack was discovered by Klusmire about one month ago, when an email was sent from Mayor James Eccher’s city email account to Tice in the finance department requesting funds be transferred from one account to another; that strange email was recognized as an attempted electronic fraud and was stopped. A city police department investigation using outside state agencies specializing in computer crime has been opened.
When the city signed on to share IT services with the county about a year ago, it had been suggested the city purchase a reliable computer security system in light of the computer hacking issue the county had faced previously. Due to expense at that time, the city opted out of buying the security system, a move Klusmire said will be addressed immediately.
No law enforcement command officials were available at city hall Friday, May 13 to answer whether or not the police computer system had been compromised, but Huerfano County IT department staff will be looking into the police department’s computer system to ensure it is also secure.
Klusmire wanted to make it clear that at this time it appears no customer private information was obtained during this week’s server breach.
Work to clean up and restore the city’s computer system continues today.