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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Washington Courts Seek IT Security Review, Audit Following Breach


Washington’s court system will hire an outside expert to perform a computer security review and audit. The move follows a hacking incident – revealed last week - that exposed nearly a hundred Social Security numbers and perhaps up to a million driver license numbers. But now there’s another cyber security concern at Washington Courts.

The Washington Courts public website was hacked. But now the concern is for the state’s Judicial Information System. It’s described as a decades-old statewide clearinghouse for criminal histories, domestic violence protection orders and outstanding warrants. The problem is modifications to keep it running could make it vulnerable to cyber-attack. That’s according to the formal request for bids from firms to review and audit the court’s IT security.

“The threat landscape changes on a daily basis," explains Michael Cockrill, Washington’s Chief Information Officer. "It used to be that you could assume that the bad guys weren’t getting into your network. And today you need to take more sophisticated approaches.”

Because of the constitutional separation of powers, Cockrill doesn’t actually oversee data security for the courts or agencies headed by independently elected officials. But he does plan to create a Cyber Security Center that would advise any state agency on keeping data safe.

On the Web:

Office of the Chief Information Officer - Washington Office of Financial Management

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."