Pennsylvania State Police, pension agency suffer data loss

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Office of Administration says they suffered a temporary data loss that occurred on Jan. 3 affecting multiple agencies.

According to a statement released from the office, human error from an employee who was performing routine server maintenance resulted in limited data loss from an application used by Pennsylvania State Police to manage and log evidence submissions.

Data from SERS used for the Keystone User Login was also affected.

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The office then stated they and State Police were able to restore access to nearly all of the affected data.

The data that was affected is used by the State Police Bureau of Forensic Service and all physical evidence tracked and cataloged remained secure and was never endangered.

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“OA took immediate action internally to address this incident and is conducting a thorough review and update of information technology policies, procedures, processes, and controls to prevent this kind of human error from happening again.”

Users who were unable to log in were simply told there was a system outage.

John Sancenito is a cyber security expert with INA Investigations. He has no specific knowledge of this case but says there may have been people who had “not been following best practices when it comes to I.T. protection… best practices would have been to actually create a secondary backup of that data before they did whatever they were trying to do.”

State Government Committee Chair Brad Roae (R) says he was briefed on the situation and believes the employee in question was working from home.

“My concerns are human error, I think is more likely to happen at home. You have dogs, TV taking care of kids. You know, it’s it’s just not as good of a work environment at home as it is in the office.”

The incident is still being reviewed by both the State Police and the Office of Administration.

“When we don’t have good processes in place to safeguard and recover data, bad things happen. And this is very indicative of that,” said Sancenito.

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