County cybersecurity plan unveiled


BROWNSTOWN — The head of the Jackson County Emergency Management Agency talked about plans to address any potential cybersecurity attacks against county government with the county council Wednesday morning.

“Cybersecurity is still at the forefront of a lot of counties,” Duane Davis said during the council’s meeting at the courthouse in Brownstown.

Davis said the county has a cybersecurity plan and a training system. Both are grant funded.

“That training system is capable of sending fictitious emails out to see what county employees click on them,” he said. “There was a test run of 14 emails that went out. Five employees clicked on it with one being intentional just as a test.”

Davis said in the very near future, the email system will be implemented with all county employees. Employees opening any of the fictitious emails will be notified they have been caught.

He said there is a training video he would like the council to require all county employees to watch.

That would include councilmen, commissioners and anyone with county email addresses, including the sheriff’s department, Davis said.

“This is just a safety precaution,” he said.

As part of the plan, from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, there will be a workshop at the courthouse.

“We will be going over the plan, walk through the plan and do a hypothetical cyberattack just to get officeholders and everyone familiar with it because the plan calls for a cybersecurity team,” Davis said.

The team would come together in the event of a cybersecurity attack to see how the county would continue to provide services.

If an attack occurred over a weekend and all of the computers would need to be shut down, there would be issues that would need to be resolved, he said.

“How would we do payroll?” Davis said. “How do we collect taxes?”

Those are the kinds of things county officials may have issues with if an attack occurred.

“For instance, what is essential for them to do their jobs?” he said.

“Of course, IT will be mitigating the equipment, but how do we continue county services?” Davis said. “How does 911 continue to function? How does EMS function as far as billing and as far reports?”

There is a council and commissioners portion of the plan that deals with paying or not paying ransom and other legal issues, he said.

Davis also said he has applied for a $76,000 grant to purchase additional equipment to address cybersecurity needs.

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