City of Huntsville hit with cyber attack amid global rise in data breaches

KBTX First News at Four(Recurring)
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 8:14 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Cyber attacks are on the rise globally, and they’re even being seen here in the Brazos Valley.

The City of Huntsville is investigating after a security incident impacted their systems. The city is working as quickly as possible to determine the scope of the incident and have consulted with outside cybersecurity and data privacy experts.

According to Dwayne Whitten, a Texas A&M Cybersecurity Fellow, municipalities around the country have been dealing with cyber attacks over the past few years.

“The problem that they’re facing is that in many cases these are softer targets and corporations. They don’t have the same budgets that bigger companies do and in line with that they’re not going to have newer hardware and software as much, so it’s going to be more vulnerable to attacks. They’re not going to have dedicated security or personnel in many cases, so there’s just a number of reasons why they’ve been attacked in recent years,” he explained.

Whitten says people and organizations should have backups in the case that something does happen.

People also play an important role in protection.

“The first line of defense is going to be your employees and they’ve got to be trained and aware of what’s going on,” said Whitten.

He believes employees aren’t taking these threats seriously enough.

People need to “understand that if they click on the wrong thing, this could cost our company millions of dollars.”

Like Huntsville, anyone who has fallen victim to a cyber attack will most likely need to get an outside consultant and law enforcement involved.

“If you do have good backups, if you do have good IT staff, you may be able to just disconnect the network from the rest of the internet, clean everything up and you’re up and running, but in many cases these attacks are so successful that you really do need to get some outside help,” Whitten explained.

Watch the full interview in the player above.