Local Appraisal District Acknowledges Data Vulnerability

Tarrant Appraisal District
Tarrant Appraisal District | Image by FOX 4

“Significant vulnerabilities” were discovered in the Tarrant Appraisal District’s computer network after a third-party information technology company reassessed the system over the last month.

In a press release, Tarrant Appraisal District (TAD) chair Tony Pompa said that the agency had re-engaged with the firm Apollo Information Systems after “new information” had surfaced.

“On November 10, we initially received what we believed to be the final findings from [TAD attorney] Matthew Tepper and Apollo concerning the investigation into whether the Tarrant Appraisal District system had been hacked. At that time, we reported no evidence of a hack, but Apollo did uncover some significant vulnerabilities in our network. Subsequently, we requested Apollo to conclude the investigation and shift focus to securing our network,” Pompa said.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, TAD has been under scrutiny since an alleged data breach, and comments made by the agency’s former director of information systems suggested that officials condoned “creating a false narrative” for the media related to the possible breach of secure information.

“As outlined in the report, Apollo is set to provide us with their final findings in the coming days, and we will convene to discuss the outcomes once their assessment is complete,” Pompa said.

Local realtor Chandler Crouch called out TAD prior to its latest press release, claiming that the agency was engaged in a coverup regarding the potential leak of taxpayers’ private information, including Social Security Numbers, driver’s license information, and bank account numbers.

“Shockingly, the board has yet to inform taxpayers who might be affected. Based on what I learned from multiple sources, it may affect everybody with a homestead exemption,” Crouch alleged on his blog. “The bank account and SSN exposure would only affect those who uploaded closing documents as evidence for a protest hearing or documents necessary to qualify for an exemption.”

However, according to The Texan, Tepper did state in a report to TAD board members that “there were significant vulnerabilities in TAD’s systems and that the information necessary to access TAD’s confidential information was readily available on the internet.”

Crouch was pleased by the disclosure, telling The Texan, “For TAD to release a formal statement acknowledging the truth about the breach gives me hope that TAD is turning over a new leaf to begin standing up for taxpayers.”

TAD’s board of directors is expected to hold its next meeting on Thursday, December 21.

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