This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion.

Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel announced at Wednesday’s, Kenai City Council meeting that the city is taking preventive steps to avoid a cyber attack.

Cities across Alaska, including Wasilla and Valdez, have experienced cyber attacks that knocked city services offline. The malware at the Matanuska-Susitna Borough was launched on its May 3 and was discovered July 23. The borough’s entire network, 150 servers, 500 workstations and computers had to be rebuilt and restored. Borough services are slowly coming back online, according to an Aug. 30 update from the Mat-Su Borough.

Gabriel said he made the Kenai IT department aware of the issue.

“These are pretty devastating attacks — crippling to some extent — operated by characters out of reach,” Gabriel said at the city council meeting. “They operate with impunity.”

City manager Paul Ostrander said he has been working with the city’s IT manager, Dan Castimore, to secure the city’s virtual infrastructure.

“I’ve worked with Dan Castimore to take proactive steps to be as protective as we can be,” Ostrander said at the city council meeting. “Though, I don’t think you’re ever 100 percent protected… Certainly, I think we’re in a good spot as far as our IT goes.”

Ostrander said the city will provide cybersecurity training to their employees, which is something the city hasn’t done in the past.

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