Cecil Whig File Photo

Cecil Whig File Photo

Local governments a target for cyberattacks

A major cyberattack on the city of Atlanta in March shut down city computers for five days, exposing critical vulnerabilities in the government system.

Just days later, Baltimore was hit with a separate ransomware attack that required 911 dispatchers to manually dispatch calls. In May, the Idaho Legislature website was taken over by hackers who posted a manifesto on its website.

Harry Holt, vice president of operations at BITHGROUP Technologies in Baltimore, said he was not surprised to hear local governments worry that they don’t pay enough to attract top cybersecurity personnel. There simply aren’t enough cybersecurity engineers to meet the demand in the field, he said. But he believes partnerships with local universities could attract young talent to government. In the end, cybersecurity looks pretty similar for private and public entities. It comes down to the employees doing all they can to keep it secure, he said.

“Once they get in, there’s some pretty sophisticated technology folks out there that can do bad things,” Holt said. “The training has to be constant. And you have to do different types of tests and awareness on an ongoing basis.”