Thurston County officials convened a task force this spring focused on potential cybersecurity issues, designed to help the county detect and prevent cyber threats.
The county offered details of the task force, which was created in May, in a statement last week that highlighted attacks against other cities, including one that shut down many of Atlanta’s municipal computing services for several days.
“Recent attacks like Atlanta just reinforce the need to increase our investment in cybersecurity,” said county auditor Mary Hall, a co-chair of the task force. “We need to view investing in cybersecurity tools and staff as insurance.”
The outfit will coordinate cybersecurity efforts within county government and identify ways to preemptively fight attacks, according to the statement. It aims to do so both by identifying cybersecurity tools and recommending implementation strategies.
So far, county officials have implemented mandatory cybersecurity training and devoted additional efforts to ward off spam and phishing efforts, the statement said.
The county highlighted the particular vulnerability of elections to cyber threats. Hall, joined by assistant county manager Robin Campbell in leaning the task force, said attempted election hacking nationwide in 2016 served as “a wakeup call” to local governments.
“The county is only as strong as our weakest link,” Hall added. “Education, additional tools and resources, and a coordinated approach is our best defense against the growing threat of cyber criminals.”