The city’s Office of Inspector General was the victim of an attempted hack, but the office was able to protect its data by taking its website down, the office’s attorney, Suzanne Wisdom, told The Lens on Friday.
The Inspector General’s website, nolaoig.org, along with the websites for the Independent Police Monitor, nolaipm.org, which is part of the Office of Inspector General, and the Ethics Review Board, nolaethics.org, which oversees the Inspector General, have frequently been down or semi-functional for the past few weeks. But the reason for the outages was not announced until a Friday afternoon Ethics Review Board meeting, when board attorney Dane Ciolino informed members.
The prospect of the Office of Inspector General’s records being compromised is troubling. As the city’s watchdog, the office maintains sensitive files on ongoing investigations into city agencies and employees. But in an email, Wisdom characterized the incident as only a “hack attempt.”
“The hack attempt failed,” she wrote. “We are migrating to .gov for greater security.”
Wisdom did not immediately respond to follow up questions from The Lens.
Friday’s meeting was originally called to discuss Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux’s request that Independent Police Monitor Susan Hutson be fired, which he has since rescinded. At the meeting, the board voted to adopt a rule requiring members file annual personal financial disclosures.
Following the meeting, Ciolino and board Chairman Michael Cowan were not able to offer further details on the attempted hack, such as when it occurred. They referred questions to Quatrevaux, who did not attend the meeting.
“I just know that he is investigating it as well as law enforcement,” Ciolino said. A spokesman for the New Orleans Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.