Spokane City and County bill pay websites receive secure ranking




Posted on May 21, 2014 at 6:09 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 21 at 6:09 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.-- Tech experts said websites that thousands of residents used to pay Spokane and Spokane County bills in Spokane took appropriate precautions to protect users’ personal information.

A KREM 2 On Your Side investigation in May tested the security on a number of websites that collected personal information from Spokane residents.

“Protection of data is something we take very seriously and we’ve actually added some new enhancements to our new website,” said Brian Coddington with the City of Spokane.

Websites used to pay parking tickets and utility bills tested well on the Qualys SSL Labs website. The website gave the city's websites an ‘A-‘ grade.

Staff members at Gravity Jack, a tech company in Liberty Lake, explained how the Qualys SSL test worked.  They explained the test considered whether the website could prove it actually worked for the company it claimed to be associated with.

TEST: Check your site’s security

Gravity Jack employee, Shawn Poindexter, explained the test also considered the strength of the sites’ software.

“The site does a good job of explaining where it was not optimally secure,” Poindexter said.

Tens of thousands of people visited the City of Spokane website during a six-week period to pay more than 2,500 parking tickets and request more than 1,000 permits.

Coddington said the city took extra precautions to make sure those persons’ private information was safe.

“We don’t store any credit card information;  so when we do take a payment, it’s a one-time transaction,” Coddington said.

Poindexter agreed that was a good policy to have.

“That’s a good practice because the fewer entities that have your credit card information, the less chance that someone’s going to steal it,” he said.

Spokane County sites received two ‘A-‘ grades and one ‘B’.  The Avista billing website also received an ‘A-‘.