Whomever hacked into the ECTV server to delete a controversial Council meeting last October covered their tracks successfully.
Det. Leahy from the Everett Police Department appeared before the City Council on Monday night with ECTV Director Deanna Devaney to discuss in detail the results of the investigation.
“My best analysis is that whoever did this either had dumb luck or knew Comcast’s system well enough they could hide what they were doing,” he said.
The meeting on Oct. 26 was fraught with technical difficulties and hard disagreements between councilors.
After the meeting, around 9:30 p.m., ECTV personnel were unloading the meeting onto the server. Shortly after doing that, someone used an employee credential from outside the building to hack into the server. They deleted the only copy available of the meeting, leaving no visual record of what happened that night.
ECTV Director Devaney immediately reported it to Everett Police.
The detective told the Council when he was put on the case the day after the incident. He initially retrieved the IP addresses that were used to access the server, and reached out the FBI Cyber Crimes Unit in Chelsea for help. After an analysis, the IP addresses couldn’t be matched to any other illicit activity and the crime didn’t rise to the level for the FBI to get fully involved.
Working with the Middlesex County DA’s Office, they were able to find out that the IP address was a residential address, but it was within a range of addresses that are used to remotely access an account.
“At any one time there will be hundreds of people on that same IP address,” he said.
Meanwhile, Devaney said they have contracted the AV firm Valley Communications which is installing equipment that will upgrade the connections, which is mobile and which will come with instruction for members.
“We are working with them to replace all necessary equipment that could cause issues,” she said. “It’s no longer process of elimination. We’re replacing all equipment and I’m confident what issues we have will be over.”
Devaney said they now store the recordings of each meeting in three different places so that there will never be an incidence of losing a meeting due to no backups.
She said there are also electrical repairs that will be made also. There is also a major upgrade of the Chambers in the works, but Devaney said that will likely be contained in an massive City Hall Renovation project the mayor is set to propose to the Council in the coming months.
The funding for the new equipment will not be funded by taxpayers, but rather from an enterprise fund whose source is payments from Comcast, RCN and Verizon.