Written by Dané Kudronowicz
As part of its commitment to be open, honest, and communicative about the topics Marathon County leadership and staff get comments and questions on the most, this month’s article in our “I’m Glad You Asked . . .” series features:
The Top-5 Questions People Ask the City-County IT Commission (CCITC)
Several weeks ago, President Trump declared October as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month for the 16th consecutive year, as did 11 U.S. states (including Wisconsin).
Each year, during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), government and industry come together to highlight the importance of cybersecurity and to ensure that all Americans are taking steps to be safer and more secure in the digital realm.
This year’s NCSAM theme — Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT. — put out on the official website of the Department of Homeland Security emphasizes personal accountability and stresses the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance your cybersecurity both at home and at work.
While that’s happening at a national level, it seemed a good time to help you get to know who is protecting your sensitive LOCAL government information…
It’s the City-County IT Commission (CCITC)!
The CCITC provides information technology (IT) support and services for:
- The City of Wausau
- Marathon County
- North Central Health Care (in Langlade, Lincoln, and Marathon Counties)
In addition to serving the citizens and taxpayers of Marathon County, the IT Commission provides information services — such as installing and maintaining computer hardware and software — to multiple local government agencies, serving over 1,900 employees in 70 departments, such as:
- The Everest Metro, Rothschild, Kronenwetter, and Mosinee Police Departments
- All 9 locations of the Marathon County Public Library
Below are 5 common questions people ask our staff members.
We hope that some the tips offered below help you form healthy cybersecurity habits as part of our educational outreach during Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
#1. I can’t remember 100 different passwords. What’s a good password, & is it okay to use the same one for different purposes?
A good password would be more than just a single word. Try to create a phrase you can remember, and use spaces (when allowed). For example:
0ne + 4 = F!v3
This password combination plays on letters, numbers, symbols, spaces, and capitalization in a fun way, but is ultimately something that you can remember since there is some rhyme and reason to it.
If you’re worried your memory might fail you, there are free software programs that can manage your passwords for you. These programs allow you to put in complicated passwords on your favorite websites online and then use one uber-complicated password to manage them all. See this list of the Best Password Managers of 2019 for some ideas.
And I invite you to download this tip sheet for creating strong passwords put out by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).
#2. What can happen if I accidentally open an attachment from an unknown sender?
That’s why it’s important that you know who is sending you an email. If you don’t know the sender, DELETE! If you’re not expecting an email from someone or if something about the message seems odd, call or email the person from your contacts (don’t hit Reply) asking if they sent the email/attachment in question. One hasty click on an unknown attachment or link, and it could be too late…
Attachments can contain malware (short for malicious software). Malware is unwanted software often created by teams of hackers looking to make money, either by spreading the malware themselves or selling it to the highest bidder on the Dark Web. Once unleashed, malware can spread viruses, trojans, spyware, worms, ransomware, adware, and botnets, to name just a few undesirable results.
Download this handout on identity theft and internet scams for an overview of how to protect yourself from online fraud.
Find more tips on protecting yourself from cybercrimes at https://readywisconsin.wi.gov/cyber/. ReadyWisconsin has also been sharing tips on cybersecurity throughout the month on Twitter and Facebook.
#3. How Is CCITC funded?
Together, our Commission members — City of Wausau, Marathon County, and North Central Health Care — fund about 80% of our total cost of operations.
The operating income is used to pay the salaries and benefits for 22 employees and to cover our other operating costs, such as insurance, office rent, hardware, and software maintenance.
The other 20% of our funding comes from PC/Network Support fees & Phone Support fees.
These fees cover the personnel costs of our 7 PC/Network Support staff that provide most of the first-level responses. This team answers Helpdesk questions; repairs and installs PC equipment, printers, and video systems; and implements telephone changes. This chargeback methodology is designed so that departments with many devices (PCs, laptops, printers, tablets, etc.) have more “skin in the game” than departments with fewer devices needing support.
We are one IT team bound together with one mission:
To serve the community by helping our governmental partners use technology effectively.
#4. What can I do to protect myself from someone using my credit card information without authorization?
Keep your credit card receipts each time you make a purchase, and ALWAYS match them up with your credit card statement each month. Thieves will test a credit card by making a small purchase to see if it will go through, so don’t ignore a purchase that is only a few dollars or cents, thinking it must be fine — especially if you don’t remember making that purchase.
To learn more about e-skimming tactics cybercriminals use to capture credit card and other personally identifiable information, download this e-skimming tip sheet.
#5. What should I do if I became a victim of a cybercrime?
Because there are so many different types of cybercrimes, you should always report anything suspicious to your local law enforcement agency. They will know how best to proceed, but know that it’s very tough to catch cybercriminals.
If you think you’re a victim of a cybercrime, I’d advise that you visit StaySafeOnline.org. This site provides numerous resources that you’ll need to report a cybercrime to the proper authorities, to collect evidence, and to help protect you in the future. Download one of their information-packed tip sheets here.
* * *
If you’d like to learn more about the City-County IT Commission and the services we provide the community, I invite you to visit our website: http://www.citycountyit.org/.
And remember to stay vigilant with your digital profile and online interactions during Cybersecurity Awareness Month — and beyond!
BONUS: Just for fun, below is a link to download a (Jeopardy-style) Cybersecurity Trivia Game (PowerPoint file). Play it in your home with your family members or at work with your colleagues to test your knowledge of important cybersecurity topics!
Download the 2019 Trivia Game and instructions here.
Senior IT Help Desk | City-County IT Commission
Dané Kudronowicz is a Senior IT Helpdesk staff supporter at the City-County IT Commission (CCITC), where she has worked for 3 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in Business and is a Help Desk Institute (HDI) Certified Support Center Analyst. Prior to working at CCITC, she worked at Merrill Distributing, Inc., as the lead IT Specialist and Semco Windows and Doors as a Helpdesk Level II as well as Software Analyst for their quoting software. Her over 25 years of customer service experience have proven to be invaluable while working in a technological profession. Outside of work, you’re likely to find Dané spending time with her family, fly-fishing, playing volleyball, or working on various art projects. Email Dané Kudronowicz.
You might also like…
- The Many Ways That Marathon County Works to Keep YOU Safe & Secure
- 6 More Pickleball Courts to Come at Marathon Park!
- Guiding Our Economic Future by Enhancing High-Speed, Broadband Internet Access in Rural Marathon County
Please email our Editorial Board with your comments, suggestions, and article ideas.
And if you spot a typo or an inaccuracy, please contact us so we can fix it. Thanks!