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Rexburg City Council moves to secure city’s network

Cybersecurity is becoming a high priority in Rexburg after city leaders found out just how vulnerable the city network is.

A hacker could gain access to city employees’ work login information through a phishing email, or by leaving an infected flash drive for someone to find and plug into a city computer.

Every City Council member decided combat the threat, voting unanimously to free up the resources to make the city’s computer network more secure.

“If there’s any area of vulnerability, we need to take care of it,” said Rexburg City Council member Donna Benfield

The vulnerability was brought to the forefront when a Brigham Young University – Idaho professor hacked into the network in front of all of the city leaders, just to show them how simple it was.

“It gave us an opportunity to foster that dialogue,” said Kelvin Giles, Rexburg’s director of technology.

He compares the network to an Oreo cookie.

“We had kind of a hard layer — a crunchy layer on the outside, and we’re soft and creamy on the inside,” Giles explained, pointing out the security measures that the city’s network already has in place.

However, once a hacker gets into the network, sensitive information, including employee emails, police records and access to city utilities, could be at the tip of his or her fingers.

Giles said that the possibility of a hack is low, but the possibility still exists.

Giles and his department are working to shore up the network from the inside, but they’re also taking some simpler steps.

“Training,” Giles said. “We need to reinforce the ideas that if you don’t know the sender, you shouldn’t respond to the email.”

There is no exact dollar amount for how much the extra security will cost, but the city is hiring two more IT employees as part of the effort. The posted salary for each of those positions is $42,077, according to the city of Rexburg’s official website.

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