From Illinois News Network
Paychecks will continue to roll out for state employees after the Illinois Supreme Court denied the Attorney General’s motion for the high court to rule on the matter of the Comptroller paying employees absent appropriation authority.
Meanwhile an appellate court vacated an order to pay only some state employees only the federal minimum wage.
The Comptroller’s office says the First District Appellate Court ruling Friday means the office can continue processing payroll until further court action. Comptroller Leslie Munger says her priority has consistently been to comply with federal mandates and to pay workers for services they are already providing the state.
Meanwhile the Attorney General has an appeal of a St. Clair County Circuit Court ruling over pay for employees. It’s now Day 18 of the new fiscal year and there’s still no budget in place.
Comptroller: State’s payroll is antiquated but secure
If the current payroll systems for the State of Illinois are antiquated, as has been characterized by the Comptroller, are they secure from hackers? The Comptroller’s office says their office has a “state of the art IBM mainframe with the most current security suite.”
They also say “the mainframe is fully isolated from the internet through multiple firewalls.”
Independent cyber-security analyst and contractor John Bambenek says he would need more information to fully assess the situation but says IBM mainframes are obsolete. He also says that firewalls are a good step, but they’re still vulnerable.
“Protecting something by firewalls is certainly an appropriate step, but that indicates that somebody from the Internet–theoretically, if they breached enough stuff–could reach into that payroll system and that’s certainly the type of appetizing target that attackers will go after.”
Cyber-security consultant: Things could always be more secure
The Washington Post reports a high profile security breach of federal employee data compromised the personal information of over four million workers and an audit found several thousand vulnerabilities.
Though the Illinois Comptroller’s office assures their systems are secure, Bambenek says there could always be updates to ensure things are more secure.
“Many organization aren’t entirely prepared for the latest threats and it does require some investment of capital to do that and so far as that could be fit into priorities it’s something the state, and for that matter local governments, should be looking at.”
Bambenek says there should be an updated system to allow for quick reference to catch any vulnerability, but that takes large capital investments for payroll the size of Illinois.
The Comptroller’s office says they’re in the process of updating to a new payroll system to the tune of $50 million a year for five years but it could take several years to get the new operation fully functional.