I-Team: Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board targeted by hackers

Chuck Goudie Image
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
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An I-Team exclusive: foreign hackers have penetrated the state agency that regulates police department training in Illinois.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- An I-Team exclusive: foreign hackers have penetrated the state agency that regulates police department training in Illinois. The FBI is now trying to figure out who did it and why.

The agency responsible for training 40,000 police officers in Illinois, the Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, was infiltrated by computer hackers in June, a breach state officials say wasn't discovered until this month.

"They were able to get through the security firewall," said Mayor Dwight W. Welch, County Club Hills.

Welch serves on the state law enforcement board. This agency memo obtained by the I-Team has been sent to local police chiefs and county sheriffs across Illinois informing them that the state's EDI system- electronic data interchange- was compromised by unknown suspects from outside the United States.

"Generally the hacker is trying to pound, pound, pound to find a hole. When they get the hole then they try to go beyond that. There was information, but it wasn't critical information that could associate an officer, his home, his phone number, Social Security number, things of that sort," said Welch.

State officials say the FBI is trying to identify the cyber attackers, where in the world they were operating and why they hacked into police records in an Illinois government database.

"Using hacking against police as a form of protest and embarrassing law enforcement is a very effective way of protesting, which is ironic because prevent these hacks is relatively easy. So it's one thing law enforcement shouldn't have to deal with, shouldn't have to worry about. Reminding everyone to cancel passwords that are no longer valid suggests to me they know it's still a common practice that that even most basic precaution is no getting out," said Neal O'Farrell, security and identity theft expert, Creditsesame.com.

Illinois law enforcement board officials said Monday night they plugged the breach and instructed police agencies and officers in Illinois to change their state access passwords.