As a community partner of Lake County Government, on Feb. 13th, I was contacted by several elected official offices informing me of a data breach of Lake County’s network.

In an email on the 13th, Commissioner Sarah Mudge asked all employees to notify local, state, and national stakeholders that: “Lake County can not currently guarantee the security of anything coming in and out of the Lake County IT network since our firewalls have been and may continue to be compromised. This is effecting all county agencies currently.”

In an email on the 13th, Commissioner Marcella stated that “if there is an issue that needs further assistance, Amit can then reach out to Platte River Networks, our offsite IT, for support.” She continued that the only employees of LCG that were allowed to use the IT services of Mr. Aird, were the SO.

At no time did either commissioner provide any evidence of their allegations.

In a subsequent email from Undersheriff Freidenberger, he asserted that there had been no breach of LCG’s network. In fact, the temporary outage of certain county websites was the result of Mr. Aird kicking an employee off the secured courthouse Wi-Fi who was watching pornography. The undersheriff provided evidence of this activity, without naming the party, and asked the commissioners to provide any evidence of the cyberterrorism they were alleging. On the 14th, Marcella and Freidenberger released a joint statement indicating that there was no breach.

I attended the commissioner meeting on the 18th with the following questions, which remain unanswered:

If Marcella and Mudge legitimately thought there was a breach of the network, why didn’t they activate the county’s emergency management plan? Especially, since Mudge asked that state emergency management and homeland security be informed.

Why wasn’t the public information officer contacted to issue internal and external communications?

If Marcella and Mudge are concerned with cybersecurity, why are employees being directed to use Platte River Network when PRN has no recorded contract with the commissioners.

Why are other elected officials, who have expressed their desire not to use Amit and Platte River, being directed to use them?

I’m happy to hear that Lake County Government has reached staffing levels where employees have time to peruse pornography at the expense of Lake County taxpayers. Three years ago, I asked for site blockers to be installed on the county network so that this type of activity could not occur, and that we block time-waster sites like Facebook and Instagram unless there was a stated business purpose. Talk about a revolt!

As usual, there is absolutely no accountability for Mudge and Marcella starting this ridiculous mess. As of the 21st, there were departments that still did not have all their credentials reestablished back into all of their state systems. Making a false allegation of cyberterrorism is serious and we as taxpayers are the only ones with the power to hold those responsible, accountable.

Whittney Smythe-Smith

Lake County

Editor’s note: Commissioner Kayla Marcella emailed the Board of County Commissioner’s contract with Platte River Networks to the Herald Democrat on Feb. 25. The contract has since been recorded with the Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

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