By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer
NAUGATUCK — Borough officials are looking to stay ahead of hackers and ensure its information technology infrastructure is secure from cyber threats.
Blumshapiro, a regional business advisory firm based in New England, will conduct a security and vulnerability assessment of the IT infrastructure for the borough and Board of Education.
“Unfortunately in the world, we live in a day it’s critical and necessary to be able to defend yourself from cyber attacks,” Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said.
Information Technology Director Jim Kallipolites said the borough hasn’t been the victim of any cyber-attacks or digital breaches. Rather, he said, the assessment is a proactive measure spurred by ransomware attacks in other municipalities.
“We want to be as proactive as we can,” Kallipolites said.
In the summer of 2019, the Wolcott school district was victimized by two cyber-attacks in which hackers held teacher lesson plans hostage for ransom, forcing the district to shut down email and other computer systems for the first months of the school year, the Republican-American reported.
The Wolcott school district hired two firms, which billed the district’s insurance company over $300,000, to help it recover. The district also decided to spend $325,000 over five years to hire a technology firm to install software and hardware protecting the district’s computers against hackers.
Hackers hit Torrington City Hall with a crippling ransomware attack in August. The attacks were directed at the city’s IT functions including its financial software system. Emails and phones were also affected, the Republican-American reported.
Kallipolites said Blumshapiro will begin its work in Naugatuck in January. The assessment is expected to take multiple weeks to complete, he said.
The assessment will include an evaluation of the borough’s existing IT structure, security access controls, policies, procedures and practices, and existing strengths and weaknesses of the infrastructure.
Controller Allyson Bruce said the assessment is estimated to cost $33,000. The money is included in this year’s budget.
The security assessment is important based on where the world stands from a technology standpoint, Kallipolites said.
“Everything is online. It’s even more important that the infrastructure is tight,” Kallipolites said. “We just want to make sure that we have the right security controls in place to be secure and efficient.”