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Grundy County officials attend educational conference

May 17, 2015
Reinbeck Courier

Grundy Center, IA More than 150 county and city officials traveled to Johnston recently for a one-day educational conference that was held by the Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC), the Iowa League of Cities, and the County Strategic Technology Advisory Resource (CoSTAR) in cooperation with the Iowa Communities Assurance Pool (ICAP). Joining the group from Grundy County were Don Kampman, IT/GIS Director; Jesse Huisman, Assistant IT/GIS Director and John Freese, Assessor.

All local government officials were encouraged to attend and learned about protecting "you, your organization, and your information." Attendees learned about the vulnerability of work and personal email, cellphones, computers and more through a variety of speakers and panel presenters.

The conference began with Keynote Speaker Michael Bazzell, a renowned computer crime specialist formerly assigned to the FBI's Cyber Crime Task Force. Mr. Bazzell is known worldwide for his interactive presentations. This session focused on recent trends of online fraud, computer intrusion, and ways that suspects steal valuable data from your company. Details of how hackers commit their crimes and what any employee can do to protect company assets were discussed. The audience learned how password hacking, email phishing, wireless access, telephone scams, social engineering, and portable devices are an emerging threat against every business. Live examples of 'hacking' into information shocked the audience, while detailed solutions were displayed on how to stop the threat.

Jo Ellen Whitney from the Davis Brown Law Firm presented to the local government officials about the types of personal information and the obligations (and associated consequences) of local government officials to protect this information. Concurrently, the county and city technology professionals gained a better technical understanding of practices that will strengthen cyber security activities from Mr. Bazzell. A panel presentation focused on the resources that are available to local governments to help prepare for and prevent a cyber-attack concluded the conference. Panelists included professionals from the insurance and banking industries as well as representatives from local, state and federal governments.

"Cyber-security is becoming an ever-present threat to local governments. This conference provided attendees with proactive information that will help them to protect taxpayer data, information and money" said Bill Peterson, ISAC Executive Director.

"I commend all of the local government officials who attended this conference to better their understanding of the technology threats that exist today."

The Iowa State Association of Counties is a private, nonprofit corporation whose members are county officials from the 99 counties in Iowa. ISAC's mission is to promote effective and responsible county government for the people of Iowa.



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