By DANA TREEN
March 27, 2007
St. Johns County officials have determined just who was responsible for
accessing and making changes to county commissioners' cell phone
At first, they thought hackers were to blame and called in the FBI.
But the truth was more nefarious than teenagers with too much time on
More clandestine than Jack Bauer in hour 23.
More stealth than the guys in suits at Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
It was pencil pushers trying to save the county a few pennies here and
Sources told The St. Augustine Record last week that a hacker got into
the county's Nextel computer by using one of the commissioners' cell
Once inside, the intruder canceled e-mail and phone services for the
commission and a handful of administrators and changed the passwords on
some accounts, the newspaper reported.
But county officials said Monday an auditor hired by County Clerk of
Courts Cheryl Strickland to look at ways the county could save money was
A subcontractor working for the auditor had the mobile-to-mobile feature
turned off. Cell phones were just one part of the cost-savings review,
but instead of making a recommendation to cut off the phone service,
someone working for the auditor simply shut it down.
The account that was affected was one of 24 groups of cell phone users
the county has and was the one that is used by the county commissioners
and some administrators.
"We felt that it would be best to go to the FBI," interim County Manager
Wally Kropacek said. "They were even perplexed by it."
As the county started to backtrack, they discovered what happened.
"Everybody loves a good conspiracy but this [outcome] throws a little
cold water on that," Kropacek said.
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