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South Bend I.T. team blocks cyber phishing attack

“As good as the security is, some will always get through,” said Dan O’Connor, Chief Technology Officer for the City of South Bend.

That’s exactly what almost happened had it not been for South Bend’s Information Technology officials.

You heard it right. South Bend has its own I.T. team; a group of about 15 people working behind the scenes everyday to protect communication between citizens and city officials.

“Year to date, January 1 through current, we’ve blocked about 58,000 emails from even being delivered to any of our employees,” said O’Connor.

They were put to the test Tuesday after someone tried hacking the city’s network going after multiple city employees’ email addresses.

Yesterday we started getting notifications from some of our users that they received a suspicious email,” said O’Connor.

This time around, it took the entire team to block out the phishing content coming in.

“What made this one different was, they got more than one city employee’s email address and then they spoofed the email address so it looked like I’m sending an email to a specific employer,” said O’Connor.

The hacker’s have one main goal: access.

“They want to try to gain access to systems, they want to gain access to data or information. They can still compromise the system, they could make systems unavailable so maybe citizens couldn’t get to our website,” said O’Connor.

I.T. officials say they may never know who was behind Tuesday’s phishing attack…

“Even if we identify one source of it today, that source probably won’t exist tomorrow,” said O’Connor.

But whenever the next threat comes along, this cyber security team is prepared.

“I would say the City of South Bend is extremely advanced. We have security in layers throughout the organization and so anything with content, we’re going to disallow,” Dan O’Connor

After they stopped those hackers in their tracks, Mayor Buttigieg tweeted this out Wednesday morning thanking the team:

“Appreciate the quick thinking of our @CityofSouthBend IT team addressing a complex phishing attack on our employees. Cybersecurity is critical and we will continue to develop our defenses to stay ahead of threats.”

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