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Sikeston Approves Implementation Of Cyber Security Software Amidst Growing Rate Of Cyber Attacks

Pixbay / The Digital Artist

A report from 2021 shows that cyber attacks have increased from 20% to 35% since the beginning of the pandemic.

In recent years, various cities across Southeast Missouri have fallen victim to cyber security attacks.

In 2020, the City of Cape Girardeau experienced a cyber attack, encrypting the city’s files, and making them inaccessible for multiple weeks.

The attack also affected community members. More than 700 city employees and any customers were left unable to pay bills online.

Various hospitals in the area have also experienced instances of hacking. In 2020, Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center faced a data breach after a tornado struck a business associate that stores records.

At the City of Sikeston’s City Council meeting on Monday, the council approved the implementation of new cyber security software, SecurID by BroadTek.

The software provides identity and access management on a single identity platform, intended to protect the city’s records.

Karen Bailey, City Treasurer and Finance Director explains that the growing rate of attacks in the area inspired the city to look into installing higher protection.

The city has utilized cyber security insurance, which, after an attack, protects the city from financial loss, and provides technician assistance to act on the issue promptly.

Bailey says that while the insurance helps with the aftermath, the new software prevents the hack from ever happening.

“It will give us the ability to be more prepared to respond. We’ll be less likely to be hacked, and if we are hacked we'll be quicker to respond and take care of any issues, and prevent any delay in service to others,” said Bailey.

Bailey said the council’s approval of the software is an important and necessary proactive decision.

“It's $30,000…but that's a drop in the bucket if I can't collect taxes for 6 weeks. We don’t bill for utilities, but cities do, and if you can't bill for solid waste or electric bills… suddenly, it's a bigger issue,” said Bailey.

Bailey said the city expects to have the new cyber security software installed within the next couple weeks.

Daria Lawson is a 2021 Graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication, with a Minor in Music.