Hackers infiltrated agency network

Hackers, apparently from outside the U.S., have made one Kentucky state agency’s computer network their old Kentucky home, according to a state auditor.

Auditor Ed Hatchett told reporters that hackers who appeared to be from France broke into servers on the internal network of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the state agency for transportation and vehicle registration functions.

Since at least April, the hackers have been using it as a warehouse for pirated music, electronic games and movies – even new films like Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life and Spy Kids 3D: Game Over.

The hackers also probably had access to bill-paying systems and state-held information such as driver’s licenses, Hatchett said.

Harold McKinney, attorney in the state auditor’s office, said the problems were uncovered during a vulnerability assessment of the state agency’s computer network as part of a routine financial audit of records.

There were signs that some activity originated from Canada and Croatia, in addition to France.

Transportation cabinet spokesman Mark Pfeiffer, who acknowledged that some servers at the agency had been hacked, said the agency does not believe internal records and billing systems were compromised.

“The auditor claimed our public records and driver’s licence records were in jeopardy, but that’s not true,” said Pfeiffer, because those systems reside on separate networks that are securely separated from the hacked servers.