Cyber Security Now Considered a Serious Issue in California

alg_cyber-attackAs businesses and individuals become increasingly dependent on digital technology, a series of cities in the Inland Valley and San Bernardino County in California have began to take steps that will provide for more efficient social security and personal privacy as computer technology constantly evolves.

“It requires constant vigilance and making sure that you are prepared,” said Elliott Ellsworth, information technology director for the city of Ontario.

Several government agencies have made steps to tackle threats such as viruses and denials of service attacks by installing services such as anti-virus software, firewalls, and application security. Orleans established a department similar to this over a decade ago and now operates with several network security specialists. Many cities including Ontario, Claremont, Pomona and Fontana have information technology or services departments, which often provide technical support and network security.

Dale Wishner, systems manager in Ontario’s information technology department, says a security model works along the same framework as an onion.

“You try to build up as many layers as you can and slow down the hacker from getting into your network,” Wishner said.

Novacoast Inc., an information technology and services company, works with these cities, state, and national clients to secure their systems from everyday cyber nuisance to the worst attacks. Al Maslowski-Yerges, national security practice manager of Novacoast, claims that his clients had faced every type of cyber attack and that the best way to protect an organization is to be proactive and create multiple layers of external and internal defenses as well as actively maintain them.

Cal Poly Pomona professor Dan Manson said any connection to the Internet has a level of risk.

“The Internet was not designed with security in mind, so security is always what we put in after the fact,” Manson said.

He also said that though unlikely, a city could become a potential target for a hacker and that companies are attacked so easily due to the ability of hackers to compromise private computers.

Manson and Mt. SAC Professor Robert Loya formed the Regional Information Systems Security Center at Mt. Sac for the purpose of raising computer security awareness within surrounding communities.

The both of them said that many people could be involved in a cyber attack. When a hacker could compromise private machines with malicious software, information could cripple a variety of Web sites through denial of service attacks. In the past, targets of these attacks have been the National Security Agency and the State Department.

Information technology groups will continue to protect and upgrade local security because a cyber assault can come at any moment and cause considerable damage. Overall, it’s good to see that these cities are taking the issue of cyber security seriously. However, we hope that it just isn’t cities in California that are being so careful, but rather that all cities through out the U.S. are scrutinizing their cyber security with a fine tooth comb as well.

“(A cyber attack) is a serious concern,” said Steve Hall, chief information officer for San Bernardino. “Any outages or any major attacks could cripple us for a period of time.”

(via Contra Costa Times)

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