State auditor outlines cybersecurity mistakes of local governments

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Missouri state auditor is encouraging local governments to assess how to safeguard their important information.

Everyone uses and stores information on computers nowadays, including local governments.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Gallway is warning that local Missouri governments are not keeping their data as safe as it could be.

Over the last year, reports have shown there are several common cybersecurity mistakes in local Missouri governments.

Gallway released a list of the top 5 in the hopes of preventing issues in the future.

  1. Access. Some employees have access to more than they need to within the government computer system. There are all instances where former employees’ access to databases is not disabled.
  2. Sharing Passwords. Employees sometimes share computer passwords or don’t have one at all.
  3. System Locks. Some local governments do not have system locks. That means they do not lock after a certain amount of time being inactive.
  4. Data Backups. Many local governments are not backing up data on a regular basis or not storing it securely off site.
  5. Data Integrity and Tracking. Some systems do not have data integrity and tracking, this means there is nothing that protects the government computer system from being altered.  It also means when changes are made, there is no way to track who is responsible for the changes.

The auditor hopes that making this common issues known will encourage changes and prevent data breaches in the future.

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