City of Amarillo Thwarts Cyber Attack and Now Explains How they Protect Info from Cyber Criminals…

New information on that attempted breach of the City of Amarillo’s technology operations that ABC 7 News first reported on Sunday. The city’s systems are fully back up and running now after they identified what they called unusual behaviors on an IT system and took action to prevent any damage.

“We take hundreds of millions of attacks a year and even from an email perspective we get over a million email a year with malware attached,” Rich Gagnon, Chief Information Officer for the City of Amarillo, said. “So, we watch behaviors of all of our systems.”

It’s keeping a close eye on the systems that Gagnon said prevented a cyber-attack last weekend. On Friday at noon there were signs of a potential attack. By 2 p.m. all external connections were shut down as a precaution.

“We were 90% sure from the start we had caught this thing quickly, isolated it, but you can’t afford to be wrong, not in today’s world,” Gagnon said.

Gagnon explained this was a ‘zero-day attack,’ unlike an email with a virus infected link, it’s a newer more sophisticated approach.

“In a couple of ways, one we reported it immediately,” Gagnon said. “This is not just my word that the public has to take, the minute we have an incident like this I report it to the Criminal Justice Information System. I brought an outside incident team that’s not city of Amarillo staff it’s actually a company called secure works”

The city has early indicators regarding who and where this attack came from but are still investigating.

Written By: Morgan Duerden for ABC7 News

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