Home New mexico real estate Bernalillo County releases cybersecurity policy upgrade after hack

Bernalillo County releases cybersecurity policy upgrade after hack

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(Roberto E. Rosales/Journal file)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

About four months after a ransomware attack forced a partial shutdown and halted many of its operations, Bernalillo County adopted a new cybersecurity policy.

Chief Information Officer Robert Benavidez said the new 11-page policy includes some elements that might have helped had they been in place before the January 5 attack, including one requiring a multi-factor authentication process. to access certain accounts. Even with a password, someone attempting to log in will need another code received through a separate device or application, such as a phone.

Benavidez said the county was already moving toward such a requirement before the attack but has yet to implement it. The accounts “certainly were one of the mechanisms (attackers) exploited” in the incident earlier this year, Benavidez said, although he said he was unable to provide more information. details.

“A year ago I would have said it was a good idea,” Benavidez said.

“Today it is a necessity.”

The new county policy – ​​which replaces the existing internet use and email policies – also notes that “Bernalillo County systems are monitored by a 24×7 Security Operations Center, which, according to Benavidez, is a new development. All computers in the network are equipped with sensors that will alert the SOC of suspicious activity to initiate the necessary intervention, he said.

The Bernalillo County Commission unanimously approved the new policy Tuesday night.

January’s ransomware attack had a dramatic impact on county operations. The county closed its downtown headquarters for several days, temporarily locked down the Metropolitan Detention Center and was unable to process legal documents such as marriage licenses and real estate transactions.

But the county was able to recover without paying a ransom to the attackers, Benavidez said.

The county had insurance to cover up to $2 million in costs associated with such incidents. Its deductible is $250,000, and Bernalillo County shares the cost with the statewide New Mexico Counties Organization.

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