Texas immigration center accused of massive computer fraud
An investigation into a Texas immigration center reveals fraud and internal hacking of systems. NextGov conducted the investigation and says employees and supervisors were routinely abusing system logon privileges, sabotaging records, and then covering their tracks.
Texas personnel were capable of, for example, granting citizenship rights, as well as reading files containing sensitive information on contract awards, immigration reform or other policy formulations, say former USCIS IT officials there at the time.
The abuses were pretty brazen, apparently:
Federal agents located so-called hackware in several computer drives — software that lets users intercept business information passing through the agency’s network, according to one investigative analysis signed in March 2008.
In another instance, a staffer in a position of authority asked for the logins and passwords of all software and systems at the service center, which would have granted that person unauthorized access to all goings-on at the facility.
A Nov. 27, 2007, email from the manager with the subject line: “FW: TSC Logins and passwords.” The body of the email stated: “I will need the administrator password for every piece of hardware in the TSC that requires a password. I will also need the administrator password for any enterprise type software that has an administrator password.” The manager then said, “Please do not send them in e-mail unless you encrypt the text file” — or scramble the data to render it unreadable. “You can call me to provide the encryption password.”
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