The City of Independence is notifying individuals that it was the victim of a sophisticated cyberattack. Upon learning of the event on December 4, 2020, the City of Independence immediately launched an investigation to confirm the full nature and scope of the incident and restore functionality to impacted systems. Through this investigation, it was determined that certain employee email accounts may have been accessed without authorization between September 7, 2020, and December 1, 2020.
Unfortunately, the investigation was not able to determine if any specific emails or attachments within these accounts were in fact viewed. As a precautionary measure, the accounts were then reviewed to determine if any personal information may have been contained within these accounts.
This review identified certain personal information was stored within these accounts. The investigation determined that the personal information accessible within the email accounts includes personal information such as date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s license numbers, financial account information, health information, biometric data, employee identification number, certificate information, and username and password. The types of personal information potentially accessible varies per individual.
The City of Independence takes this incident and the security of personal information in their care very seriously. The City of Independence moved quickly to investigate and respond to this incident, assess the security of relevant Independence systems, and notify potentially affected individuals. Their response included resetting relevant account passwords, reviewing the contents of the email accounts to determine whether they contained protected information, and reviewing internal systems to identify contact information for purposes of providing notice to potentially affected individuals. The City of Independence also notified and cooperated with federal law enforcement. Finally, the City continues to take steps to further secure its systems, as part of its ongoing commitment to the security of information in its care. This includes evaluating its data security policies and procedures.
The City of Independence is mailing notice to those individuals whose information might have been present in the email accounts at the time of this event. In that notice, the City of Independence is providing access to credit monitoring as well as guidance on how to protect against identity theft and fraud, should they feel it is necessary to do so. While the City of Independence is unaware of misuse of information, the City encourages those who may be impacted to remain vigilant against incidents of identity theft and fraud by reviewing account statements and monitoring free credit reports. The City of Independence also established a dedicated call center to assist those who may be impacted by this event. Those who may be impacted can also find additional information and links to consumer credit reporting agencies at indep.us/notification621.
The City of Independence assures those who may be impacted that the City of Independence takes the responsibility to safeguard protected and sensitive information very seriously. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call the dedicated, toll-free number at (833) 281-4827 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Monday – Friday CST and Saturday and Sunday between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. CST. You may also write to Independence at 111 E Maple Ave., Independence, MO 64050.