Council Asks Haverhill Administration to Undertake Cybersecurity Measures

Haverhill City Councilor John A. Michitson. (WHAV News file photograph by Jay Saulnier.)

Haverhill, like other cities across the country, is becoming more and more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

City Councilor John A. Michitson told his colleagues Tuesday the bad guys have become very sophisticated and on more than one occasion, have crippled cities by getting into their data, encoding it and demanding a ransom to release it again. He cited an attack on Baltimore, Md., late last year. Michitson said that city refused to pay the ransom demand of $76,000.

“Disruption to service delivery included property transactions, tax and water billing. Recovery costs have been estimated to be $18.2 million,” Michitson said.

Haverhill did perform a cybersecurity audit a couple of years ago but, with the ever more sophisticated expertise of hackers, the councilor fears sensitive information on citizens and businesses needs to be protected.

As a result, the Council agreed to set up a meeting with the mayor and the city’s IT consultant in order to receive an update on Haverhill’s cybersecurity protections.

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