NORTH ADAMS — In North Adams, where the City Council recently authorized spending $20,000 to update the city's website, the threat of a ransomware attack keeps the director of information technology up at night.
Kathy Lloyd, the city's IT director, said her team is "certainly proactive" in protecting the network from attack, but it still is a worrying possibility.
Lloyd said she spends hours every week taking measures to protect the network. She declined to go into details for fear of inadvertently giving hackers a tip.
So far, North Adams has not been targeted.
"North Adams is not the exception somehow, it's just that we're doing everything we can with multiple backups, and people training," Lloyd said. "The staff has been awesome with their vigilance. They're always calling me when they see something that doesn't look right. For this team, I am so appreciative of that vigilance."
She said that when the city's new website comes online in early 2020, it will reduce the number of openings a hacker could use to gain entrance, but the threat still will be out there. The current 15-year-old website runs on an older system.
If a hacker was successful, Lloyd said, city processes would come to a standstill without computer access. Record-keeping and other procedures would be back to paper and pen, and once restored, all those records would have to be reentered into the network. Archived information would have to be restored. "So, this has to be the No. 1 priority for us this week and every week."