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County board gets crash course on internet security at meeting



“We’ve been breached already,” said county IT director. 

It was only in the last 20 years or so that La Crosse County board members had to learn how to operate computers at their seats in the board room.

Now, all the supervisors have laptops in front of them at meetings and the computers will be upgraded in time for the next election in April. But, with new computers comes a warning about internet hackers.

“We’ve been breached already,” John Parshall, the information technology (IT) director for La Crosse County said at a meeting Monday. “We’ve been attacked. But, we’ve been able to stay out of the paper. We’ve been able to recover. We’ve been able to defend.

“The hackers are after our data. They want our employee data. They want our citizens’ data.”

Parshall says the county is one of the few local governments in Wisconsin to have its own full-time staff for computer security.

Parshall gave the La Crosse County board a crash course on internet security. He told the board that hackers will come after government computers to get birth dates and social security numbers, so supervisors will have to be careful.

They’ll have to come up with new personal passwords every 90 days.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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