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County discusses cyber security

The recent cyber attack on Memorial Health System has officials contemplating potential attacks on Washington County.

“We meet with (county IT director) Donnie Rader periodically about the issue and we met with him immediately after we heard about Marietta Hospital,” said County Commission President Kevin Ritter. “Our question to him was ‘how do you feel about our security?’ Donnie said ‘if they want to get in, they will. Whether that’s us or a Fortune 500 company, they’re going to get in.'”

Ritter said that Rader’s team feels they’ve done everything they can. The opportunity was offered to the department to have an outside group come in and look at their system, but that’s already been done.

Rader and the commission sat down after a recent commission meeting to discuss the cyber attack.

“I feel as comfortable as I can be,” Rader said of the county’s security. “No matter what you do, there’s always going to be a way in. It only takes one person clicking the wrong email.”

Discussion turned to possibly hiring someone to handle cyber security. Rader said looking forward, he’d like to hire someone and “it’s becoming more and more of a need rather than a want.”

Ritter said he’s more concerned about the political fallout if a cyber attack turns into a ransom situation.

“I want you to be able to say we’ve taken every measure we could,” Ritter told Rader. “It’s happened to the hospital and now it’s happened to us. I just want you to be comfortable with it.”

Rader said he is.

“We’ll just let it be, then,” said Commissioner Jamie Booth.

The IT director said if they hired someone to handle cyber security, it would most likely be someone straight out of school.

“Kids who come out of school are honestly the best at this point. IT changes so quickly,” Rader said. “If you aren’t learning every day, you’re falling behind. Those kids coming straight out of school are ready to go.”

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

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