Belvidere City Hall victim to cyberattack

BELVIDERE, Ill. (WIFR) - Local government entity fell victim to a cyberattack which denied employees access to their computers for a couple of days.

"City hall has drafted a city-wide memo that we have distributed to all of our personnel,” said Chief Shane Woody, Belvidere Police Department.

dozens of Belvedere City Hall computers were hacked earlier this week

"On the slim chance that any sensitive information was compromised. We encourage all of our employees to check their bank accounts, check their credit reports," Woody said.

Chief Woody is in talks with the city about combining IT departments.

"It would be advantageous for city hall to have their computer systems managed by the public safety IT personnel," Woody said.

"You need to be using today's relevant cybersecurity protections. Not tools that were built 15 or 20 years ago," said Kierk Sanderlin, Check Point Software head engineer.

Sanderlin says most hackers target school districts and government entities.

"There typically underfunded with their budget for cybersecurity, they don't have IT staff necessary to put up the proper defense so it's just easy pickings," Sanderlin said.

To protect yourself from a cyber-attack Sanderlin says there are easy things you can do.

"Don't use the same username and password for every application or device you set up and when you are using multiple passwords make sure you have a regular schedule to change them every two or three months," Sanderlin said.

"We all need to be vigilant through our credit reports, through our credit cards specifically to make sure that there are not any unauthorized charges and if there contact your credit card company immediately and report that," Woody said.

City employees have regained access to their emails and the internet but many city hall computers will need to be replaced or completely wiped out.