READING, Pa. – City and municipal leaders are speaking out about cybersecurity following recent cyberattacks at a county 911 center and a water authority in Pennsylvania.
They addressed members of two state Senate committees Wednesday about taking measures like creating private networks for city employees to help prevent future attacks.
“We do the same things with our police tablets that we have. Even though they’re wireless and they connect to a wireless signal, we do what’s called a wireless virtual private network,” explained Ken Cochran, IT manager with the City of Reading.
Cochran spoke before a joint hearing of two state Senate committees, showing examples of ongoing cyberthreats as the city has spent millions in security upgrades, including a citywide multi-factor authentication system set to be fully in place by summer.
When it comes to attacks on other municipalities, like recent incidents in Bucks County and Aliquippa, Reading’s IT manager wants to see more communication statewide.
“Unless you know somebody there you have no idea what happened. There’s just no reporting to us. It would be great for us to see something. It’s hard for us to learn or adjust if we’re just guessing at what happened,” said Cochran.
At Alvernia’s CollegeTowne, a cybersecurity expert is preparing the next generation to handle these types of threats.
“You have to have them there while you’re installing. You have to make sure you’re watching the network traffic internally and externally to see who’s coming in and out of your network constantly,” said Eric Robuck.
Robuck recently established a new cyber security alliance in Berks in an effort to get more people on the same page.
He says from the federal government on down, everyone is vulnerable to these types of threats and that educating and updating your civic employees on the latest technology is vital to preventing the next cyberattack.
“You have to have cybersecurity experts with their fingers in everything you do to make sure everything is secure,” added Robuck.