Winnebago County Health Department thwarts cyber attack

Online Staff Report

County health department IT officials thwarted a computer exploitation of one of its Internet facing servers, Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen (R) said Wednesday, Feb. 5.

The attack was immediately attacked and neutralized Tuesday, Jan. 14, according to a new release.

Information Technology teams determined that the intent of the hack was to use the server for relay purposes and that the attacking Internet protocol addresses used were registered in Poland. The county’s electronic and manual monitoring of computers and networks caught the activity as it was happening and stopped it immediately.

After a detailed investigation, officials say no other area of the Winnebago County Metropolitan Area Network was attacked and have no reason to believe that any personal or otherwise sensitive county government data had been exposed.

Christiansen’s office said the attack was not present prior to its detection. The county persistently monitors and regularly introduces the latest security technology to keep computers and networks safe.

“These cyber-criminal activities and cyber-attacks do happen in our backyard and are not limited to Target, CNN, Yahoo and other high profile situations,” Christiansen said.  “Our IT department reacted quickly to head off any major breach related to information security.”

Strategies to reduce threats to cyber-attacks

Use complex passwords that have 12 characters and contain capital and lowercase letters, numeric and symbols.

Change passwords often frequently. Do not reuse passphrases; do not use your e-mail passwords on
sensitive accounts.

Use and keep current virus software updated on all PCs and mobile devices.

Posted Feb. 5, 2014

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