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DPS Cyber Crimes Unit takes over investigation into Hawkins city computers | #cybercrime | #computerhacker

HAWKINS, Texas (KLTV) – Hawkins is at the center of a DPS cybercrimes investigation after a potential cyber-security incident.

The new mayor of Hawkins, Debbie Rushing, is raising concerns over access granted to a city computer by the Mayor Pro-Tem just hours before Rushing was sworn in. The issue is preventing the City of Hawkins from sending out new water bills and affecting how residents pay their current bills.

On April 1, someone not employed by the city was given access to the mayor’s computer in City Hall.

Rushing said that person was Shahaub Tafreshinejad. Rushing also said Mayor Pro-Tem Chuck Richoz brought Tafreshinejad in and gave him the password to the city computer in the mayor’s office. Richoz said it was for a security audit.

Now, that incident is under investigation by the DPS Cyber Crimes Unit, and the city is not able to use any of its computers. That means water bills can only be paid in cash, check or money order. No online payments can be processed.

Mike Mayberry, the Director of Public Works, also said the city cannot issue any new water bills at this time. He said it could cost the city more than $50,000 in water usage fees every month they are down.

According to minutes from the March 18 city council meeting, council members tabled discussion about security devices, security audits and a contract to hire someone, in this case Tafreshinejad.

Eight days later, acting Mayor Richoz signed a contract agreeing to allow Tafreshinejad “to perform a comprehensive network and system risk assessment and generate and deliver a vulnerability report complete with a technical executive summary … at no-cost, no-risk, no-obligation to the the client,” which is the City of Hawkins.

Richoz said he moved forward despite it being tabled by the council because it was a free service and no taxpayer money was involved.

“I was just trying to do my job as I understood it to be,” said Richoz.

Mayberry said seeing Tafreshinejad on the mayor’s computer raised multiple red flags.

“Well, I started videoing it,” he said, “The Mayor Pro-Tem left him in here unattended, so I came knocked on the door to see who was in here.”

The next morning, April 2, Mayor Rushing called in the city’s IT department to check the security systems, and Rushing said they found suspicious activity.

“Remote access is one of them, a backdoor is one of them, two networking maps is one or two of them. My ladies can’t be on their computers with this stuff because we have a lot of information on city computers,” Rushing said.

Tafreshinejad spoke at Monday night’s City Council meeting.

“I have just one question, when you make these baseless accusations, when the authorities asked you for your device, why the hell would you refuse to give it to them to be tagged into evidence, as I’ve read on social media?” he asked Mayor Rushing.

She responded saying she secured the computer for DPS to take it into evidence for their investigation

We approached Tafreshinejad after Monday night’s meeting but he declined to comment further.

It is not yet clear if any resident’s personal data was compromised.

The city is weighing options on how to deal with any lost revenue due to not being able to bill residents.


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