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Cybersecurity Awareness Month a good reminder that more connectivity equals more risk

By Joanne Beck
2022 File photo of Chat Klotzbach and Michael Burns
2022 File Photo of Genesee County Legislator Chad Klotzbach presenting the Cybersecurity proclamation to Information Technology Director Michael Burns.
Photo by Joanne Beck

Michael Burns is one of those guys who is often behind the scenes, making sure that all systems are working smoothly and nothing dastardly or mischievous gets into foul things up for Genesee County.

He takes his job seriously — so much, in fact, that he sends tester emails to colleagues to see if they will open them up. Every now and then, a county employee will comment that he or she was tempted to open an odd email but thought better of it, also thinking that maybe it was sent from Burns.

Of course, by now, everyone should know not to open up a strange, random or otherwise questionable email.

And Burns, who was hired as director of Information Technology in May 2021, has been beating that drum, along with sharing other important cybersecurity reminders, ever since he took the job. 

After all, “we are more wired than ever before,” he has said. 

On Wednesday, the county Legislature acknowledged the vital role of those like Burns and proclaimed the month of October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month. 

Legislator Chad Klotzbach represented the group as information technology liaison for the state Association of Counties Information Technology Task Force. The proclamation states:

WHEREAS, in today’s world we are more interconnected that ever before yet for all of its

advantages, increased connectivity brings increased risk of theft, fraud and abuse, and

WHEREAS, as Genesee County and its citizens become more reliant on modern

technology we also become more vulnerable to cyberattacks such as security breaches,

spear phishing and social media fraud, and

WHEREAS, Genesee County Information Technology Department is responsible for

delivering secure, accurate, timely information and services to County departments, municipalities, residents and visitors effectively and efficiently, and

WHEREAS, Genesee County IT employees, consultants and vendors institute best practices and utilize available resources, and

WHEREAS, cybersecurity month provides an opportunity to increase public awareness and understanding of cyber threats while empowering employees and citizens to be safer and more secure online. Now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, the Genesee County Legislature does hereby proclaim the Month of October as Cybersecurity Month and encourages all citizens to recognize that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility in which we all have a role to play.

In addition to monitoring the county’s overall cybersecurity and other technology systems, Burns has also been involved in a project to install fiber cable from County Building 2 on Route 5 to Emergency Management Services on State Street Road and from County Building 2 to Genesee County Airport at 4701 East Saile Drive. 

The Information Technology website has several resources, from affordable Internet service providers to tips for password security, multi-factor authentication, dealing with ransomware, phishing awareness, how to keep kids safe online, and other topics. 

There’s even a Kids Safe Online poster contest.

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