Education dept IT systems struck by rogue 'script'

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Education dept IT systems struck by rogue 'script'
Rogue script

Exclusive: Raises data integrity concerns.

The Department of Employment Education and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) has blamed a rogue "script" for IT problems that denied users the ability to save changes through their desktop applications.

A spokesman for the federal agency, which employs some 5471 staff, told iTnews that a business area ran a new, undisclosed "script" on Friday June 22 that "inadvertently impacted" the work of other parts of the department. 

“This was identified over the [following] weekend and the problem was fixed immediately,” he said. 

However, it was not until late Monday last week that the full extent of the impact became apparent.

Instructions were issued to managers across the department to notify staff. iTnews is seeking a copy of those instructions.

One source told iTnews that there remains uncertainty about documents that were sent to external parties after revisions were made — but not saved — during the incident.

The source contends more steps should have been taken to advise all staff promptly about the incident to ensure these missives did not contain inaccurate, incomplete or internal "track changes" beyond a memo to managers.

“How can a "business area" be enabled to compromise data integrity without triggering automated network management tools?” the source asked.

iTnews put these questions to DEEWR but has not received a response at the time of publication.

However, DEEWR advised it has now centralised the authority to run new scripts with the department's technology solutions group, to prevent a future occurance causing similar flow-on effects on the department's production environment.

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