City of Madison works to remedy cyber attack, prevent future hac - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

City of Madison works to remedy cyber attack, prevent future hacks

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MADISON (WKOW) -- As soon as word came out that a Madison police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, City Chief Information Officer Paul Kronberger thought of something that probably wasn't on the mind of anyone else - a cyber attack.

"It occurred in Ferguson, it occurred in New York City and some other locations.  I was thinking 'this is a possibility,'" said Kronberger, who runs the City of Madison IT Department.

Hackers fulfilled that premonition by targeting the city's IT network with something called "denial of service" attack.

"The attacker just floods our servers trying to bring the system down," said Madison Mayor Paul Soglin.

"That prevents service that requires communications to or from the internet," added Kronberger.

IT security expert Mike Masino teaches cyber defense classes at Madison College and tells 27 News that "denial of service" attacks are very difficult to stop, because that flood of information comes from so many different sources.

"Let's say instead of one fire hydrant you have 50,000 people with a single hose on you," said Masino.  "That's a whole different problem.  Now we have to solve stuff coming from a whole bunch of places."

That has the City's IT staff working overtime.

"We're also taking a look at any other areas where we think we may have additional vulnerabilities," said Kronberger.

That's why the City temporarily disabled certain online features for the public, including license and permit renewals and a page where you can check your water usage.

The City of Madison is also working with several different agencies including the FBI and even the Department of Homeland Security as part of its security measures.
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