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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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The Crest to Investigate Possible Cyberattack

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By Shay Roddy

To access the Herald’s local coronavirus/COVID-19 coverage, click here.
WILDWOOD CREST – As much of the country’s workforce continues to work remotely, computer hackers have taken advantage of the vulnerability.
Wildwood Crest commissioners hired a data privacy law firm and an IT security service to investigate suspicious activity they found with the borough’s system.
“Any government is now the most vulnerable at this time, with all this COVID going on. This is the time that they’re going to strike,” said Crest Mayor Don Cabrera.
Mullen Coughlin, a Main Line law firm that specializes in cybersecurity, and Tracepoint LLC, a NewOrleans-based company known for conducting drug and background testing, will oversee the investigation into the potential breach and the necessary response. The majority of the fees associated will be paid by the Joint Insurance Fund, the borough’s insurer.
“I’m just waiting for firm information as to what transpired and what happened and how we’re going to get everything checked out, so our integrity is strong and good,” Cabrera said. “Then, everyone can work on their computers, and we don’t have to feel as though something happened and it could damage other people’s personal information.”
Neither Mullen Coughlin nor TracePoint LLC immediately returned calls from the Herald.
Cabrera figures his municipality isn’t the only one dealing with the issue.
“I’m thinking it’s probably going on in other municipalities. When things get tight, there’s going to be more types of cyber-attacks,” he said.
McKinsey & Company, the consulting behemoth, highlighted three risk factors associated with the current changes in the American workplace and lifestyle.
“Large-scale adoption of work-from-home technologies, heightened activity on customer-facing networks, and greater use of online services all present fresh openings, which cyberattackers have been quick to exploit,” stated a McKinsey article, co-written by James Kaplan, the McKinsey partner who leads the firm’s cybersecurity work.
“All this is done, generally, to extract probably some money or to make it inconvenient for municipalities. If they can create harm, then they’ve just created an excuse not to pay a tax bill or something,” Cabrera said.
McKinsey said that companies will be forced to make decisions about balancing continuity with protection.
Cabrera said he’s unsure if the possible hack came from overseas or if the Crest was targeted specifically.
Beware of Scams
Another problem area in online and information security throughout the pandemic has been scams. Scammers have used phone calls and emails while attempting to take advantage of the vulnerable by pretending to be an official or a trusted company to extract personal information.
People desperately awaiting their stimulus checks or unemployment money are turning over their social security numbers to scammers pretending to be with the IRS or state labor departments. The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that there are scams out there where people pretend to be WHO representatives to extract personal information.
If you’ve given your personal information to a scammer, the WHO says don’t panic. Change your passwords immediately and report scams to the WHO.
To contact Shay Roddy, email sroddy@cmcherald.com.

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