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Cyber threats cause city halls to take action to prevent hacks

(Source: WBRC video)

VESTAVIA HILLS, AL (WBRC) –

The city of Vestavia Hills is working to make sure no one can steal your information.

Jeff Downes, the Vestavia Hills City Manager, says on a daily basis hackers try to get into databases in cities across America to steal information. Cyber security risks are high because of all the information that’s at stake.

Downes says that’s why Vestavia is ramping up cyber security. "We are in a new world these days even in the municipality world of cyber threats every day we have reports that people have attempted to hack into our system," he explains.

It is a constant cyber war that puts your information at risk. "Whoever deals with the city in this day in age of electronic transaction and computerize and digitized data. We hold lot of that data and we don’t want people to fear the risk of that loss," Downes states.

The city is spending 70 thousand dollars to get a new firewall and to hire a new information technology professional to help fight cybercrimes. This was not in the city’s original budget so they had to pull from other areas like travel and training expenses. "So we just did a little bit of tightening our belt to help try to accomplish this high priority need," he explains.

They wanted to get ahead of the game before cybercrimes started happening like they have in other cities. "To include ransomware. Ransomware is where the third party comes and holds your data hostage and demands a ransom for you to pay," Downes says.

This is exactly why the city is making these technology upgrades sooner rather than later. The city of Vestavia Hills hopes to hire the new network administration position in the next thirty days and they are already in the process of updating the fire wall.

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