Cowtown Data Breach Exposed Crash Data

Fort Worth City Hall | Image by NayaDadara/Shutterstock

The City of Fort Worth released more information about the data breach that happened last summer, admitting that a third party was able to access data through a city application that revealed sensitive details about individuals who were involved in motor vehicle accidents.

Hackers managed to access crash data that included driver’s license information and what city officials describe as “limited medical information.”

“The investigation determined that between June 11, 2023, and June 24, 2023, an unauthorized third party gained access to an account used to access a city application,” the city said in a public “Risk Management Notice.”

“The application relates to various maintenance and construction projects managed by the city of Fort Worth. A review of data in the account found that reports from motor vehicle accidents were among the data impacted.”

Along with driver’s license numbers, the hackers were able to access Social Security numbers. The hackers accessed approximately 500,000 files that contained data on 492 individuals. The city has contacted all victims and informed them of the data breach, according to WFAA.

The breach came during a flurry of such activity, including a successful hacking attempt against the City of Dallas that exposed the personal information of city employees, as reported by The Dallas Express.

The website IDStrong.com provided background on how hackers were able to access data in the Fort Worth attack. The group, which calls itself SeigedSec, used stolen login credentials to gain access to the View Works program.

Once inside, the hackers had access to hundreds of thousands of files, which they then posted online. Fort Worth officials did not immediately acknowledge the attack, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

The cyber attack against the City of Dallas last May prompted Fort Worth to reevaluate its cybersecurity efforts just a month before SeigedSec successfully hacked the city.

“We protect a lot of information. We have information about our citizens and the businesses that do with the city,” said Fort Worth chief technology officer Kevin Gunn shortly after the breach was discovered, per WFAA.

“So, everything from our utility billing to court information to police and fire information. Also, we have a lot of financial information that some people might find valuable to them. The last 24 hours has been kind of a hyper of activity here in Fort Worth.”

Gunn added that the city blocks about a quarter million emails every day that could pose a threat to data held by Fort Worth. Cowtown has yet to disclose why the hacking group targeted the particular data or what the motivation was, however, cybersecurity analyst Brett Callow claimed the goal was “money, plain and simple,” per WFAA.

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