By Randy Bell
Clinton hopes to avoid the kind of problems that plagued Hinds County after a ransomware attack in September. Many county agencies were forced to shut down until the computer systems could be restored. The City will undergo a Mississippi Office of Homeland Security (MOHS) cybersecurity assessment to ascertain “gaps, vulnerabilities and risks,” according to an MOHS document.
Mayor Phil Fisher says the City’s computer system vendor has told him that the City is in good shape with what it’s already doing to guard against a computer attack. However, Fisher believes the cybersecurity assessment will be valuable.
“Just because we haven’t been hacked yet, and they don’t think we can be, [it] doesn’t mean [it won’t happen],” Fisher says.
After the Hinds County attack, the mayor had a talk with the vendor about the City’s risk.
“They assured us they’ve got three or four systems that check everything out,” said Fisher. “So, that eased my mind about us getting hacked and blackmailed.”
But Fisher admits that won’t keep the hackers from trying.
“I guess if you’re smart enough in today’s world, you can probably get through any [computer security], but we haven’t had a threat or even a question about it.”
He says City employees been warned about responding to contacts by people “phishing” for information.
“Generally, if they’re addressing you by a name you don’t normally use or by your full name and it’s a company you’ve never heard of, you probably don’t need to be there. And, so, we’ve taken those precautions. But I think that this [assessment] is going to be an additional help to us.”
The Board of Aldermen at its November 21 meeting authorized the mayor to execute a memorandum of understanding with MOHS to have the assessment performed.