Secretary of State Kate Brown has informed the Oregon Legislature that she’ll be asking for money to hire a security contractor to fix her website, which was taken offline after hackers broke in. Brown’s office hired a contractor to review security upgrades and another to help manage communication with website users, said Tony Green, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office. Brown’s office has cut off access to the state’s business registry and campaign finance records since the hacking was discovered Feb. 4. Officials have said little about what information was compromised or when the website will work, but they insist personal information is safe. The hackers did not get access to the state’s central voter registration database, officials say. Green declined again Friday to say when the website might return or whether the public can be assured of having access to campaign finance information before the primary in May or local elections next month. The office has suspended fines for businesses that are late in paying annual fees.
“We have been literally working overtime and every single day since we detected this to get it up and running,” Green said. “First thing we have to do is make sure we can get it up securely. I think the only thing that would be more frustrating than the current situation is if we put it up prematurely and then experienced additional problems.”
The state last week signed a contract with Virtual Security Research LLC of Boston. The company will be paid $10,000 to review the work done by state experts, help determine the extent of damage and recommend strategies to fix problems, according to the contract.
This week, Brown’s office emailed 338,000 people who have created accounts in its online systems informing them of the breach and telling them they’ll have to choose a new password next time they log in. People who use the same password for other services were advised to change those access codes as well.