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FD school board OKs cybersecurity spending

Company to look for vulnerabilities

The Fort Dodge Community School District will soon have its digital network tested by experts to search for and mend any holes in the district’s cybersecurity.

During Monday’s school board meeting, the board approved a $39,000 agreement with ProCircular cybersecurity firm from Coralville, to run external and internal vulnerability assessments and penetration tests on the district’s digital network.

The vulnerability assessments provide an overall picture of the district’s cybersecurity risks, while the penetration tests are a method to evaluate the system and network’s security by simulating an attack to determine if there are any vulnerabilities resulting from insufficient or improper system configuration, known and unknown software or hardware flaws and operational weaknesses in process or technical countermeasures.

“We just don’t have the expertise to be able to handle that on our own,” Jeremy Pearson, FDCSD director of technology, explained to the board.

The district experienced a malicious cyberattack in September that locked down the servers and disrupted the telephone and internet services in all district buildings. The agreement with ProCircular is intended to find any vulnerabilities in the district’s network so the district can resolve them and prevent any possible future cyberattacks.

The $39,000 for the one-year agreement will come from the district’s general fund.

The school board also scheduled a public hearing for 6 p.m. Feb. 22 to discuss the Fort Dodge Senior High Area C HVAC Project, replacing the HVAC system in the south wing of the high school building.

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