By John McPhaul
After almost three weeks following the hacking of the AutoExpreso system, Ombudsman of Puerto Rico Edwin García Feliciano expressed concern Tuesday about the slow pace of the response of the Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTOP by its Spanish acronym) and the firm Professional Account Management (PAM), which administers the system.
Having observed an apparently insufficient official response to the growing concern of citizens for the protection of their vital and sensitive information, García Felciano said the situation that began April 16 demonstrates the lack of supervision over the access to information for the thousands of those who have used the highway toll system in Puerto Rico for the past few years.
“In this case, there has been a lackadaisical attitude on DTOP’s part and the company that administers the toll system in opportunely notifying [the public] about the consequences of the hacking initially made,” García Feliciano said in a written statement. “There was not a sense of urgency and up to today it does not seem that the message of the two entities has gone in this direction.”
García Feliciano noted that it seems difficult to recover the compromised data, so DTOP has to be more cautious with wanting to recover the tolls at all cost and in a minimum time (10 days).
In sum, the ombudsman urged the entities to work with greater urgency with new security protocols and that citizens’ information be encrypted to avoid future negative consequences for the public and the government.
García Feliciano said that for two months his office has been asking that various government agencies and public corporations certify that they possess cryptographic security measures and that their databases and protocols be up to date in order to notify citizens who may be affected in the case of a breach of security.
“This parameter is fundamental so that each citizen can carry out affirmative actions to protect their credit activity,” he said.