Houston unknowingly hosted mail-order bride, casino posts on city website

The Wednesday morning page featured a series of blog entries on a variety of confusing topics that were decidedly unrelated to City Hall. They were removed in the afternoon, after the Houston Chronicle inquired about them.

The source of the blog entries, many of which were nonsensical, was unknown on Wednesday. Mary Benton, the city’s communications director, said she alerted the IT department to the messages. The author listed on the articles, a housing department employee named Ashley Lawson, did not actually write and publish them, Benton said.

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The entries appeared on the city’s news site, cityofhouston.news, a WordPress blog that does not share a domain with the city’s main website, houstontx.gov.

Christopher Mitchell, the city’s chief information security officer, said no city information was compromised.

“We recently became aware of inappropriate posts appearing on a blog site used by the city to allow individual departments to post departmental content,” Mitchell said in a statement. “The blog site is hosted on a third-party platform and is not connected to any City of Houston enterprise systems. At no time has the city experienced any compromise of systems, data, or information The messages originated from an active account that was no longer in use, and the city is taking every precaution to correct the issue and prevent it from happening again.

The posts, often in broken or garbled English, had appeared at least 29 times since September 13, posted as “uncategorized” entries among more common posts about police and fire investigations and where to get a flu.

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Some of the spam entries boasted a “superb internet matchmaking site for women hard anodized cookware” (sic), or places”You can match nerdy women of all ages…one woman in particular sent my cardiovascular system shaking.”

Others, perhaps with a touch of irony, promoted computer security, advising how avoid computer viruses and write strong passwords.

Editors Mike Morris and John Tedesco contributed to this report.

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