Posts tagged “cybersecurity

Live Blog: Monday’s city council meetings (Feb. 10)

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Monday, Feb. 10. It’s not the official minutes.

The meeting can be watched live on Suddenlink channel 19 or online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:29 p.m.

The workshop has started. No action was taken out of the council’s executive session.

5:35 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council pulled this item for discussion from the regular meeting’s consent agenda:

  • Fitch/Wellborn Interchange: The $1.34 million contract is for the preliminary design of the Fitch Parkway/Wellborn Road Interchange and the Wellborn Road Widening Project. The contract’s scope includes the feasibility study of an interchange at Fitch and Wellborn that would include a separated grade crossing of the Union Pacific railroad tracks and connect into the city roadway network west of the tracks. The scope also includes the feasibility study and schematic design for widening Wellborn Road from Graham Road to Greens Prairie Road.

5:47 p.m.

Consolidated Plan for Federal Grants

The council discussed the 2020-24 Consolidated Plan for federal grants received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The process includes a community needs assessment, housing market analysis, and housing conditions survey.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

6:05 p.m.

Smoking Ordinance and Vaping

The council discussed health concerns about vaping and possibly adding electronic cigarettes and vaping to the city’s smoking ordinance. The consensus of the council was for staff to bring back an ordinance for consideration.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

6:09 p.m.

After the council discussed its calendar, Mayor Karl Mooney adjourned the workshop. The regular meeting starts after a short break.

6:19 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

6:26 p.m.

United Way 2-1-1 Day

Mayor Karl Mooney proclaimed Saturday as United Way of the Brazos Valley 2-1-1 Day

6:28 p.m.

Fun for All Playground

The Fun for All Playground Committee presented an $875,000 check to the city for the second phase of the playground’s construction. 

6:32 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during hear visitors, when citizens may address the council on any item that does not appear on the posted agenda.

  • Denise Snyder spoke against CSU’s implementation of advanced digital electric meters.

6:33 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • A $1.34 million contract with Halff Associates for the preliminary design phase services for the SH 40/FM 2154 Interchange and FM 2154 Widening Project
  • A law enforcement mutual aid agreement with Texas A&M, Blinn College, the Brazos County Sheriff, Brazos County Precinct 1-4 Constables, and the City of Bryan.
  • A $180,575 contract with Jamail & Smith Construction to replace CSU’s warehouse lift/freight elevator.
  • The second and last renewal of the annual meter reading contract not to exceed $560,000 with Alexander’s Contract Services.
  • A contract for a not to exceed $123,190 with Ramtech Building Systems for the purchase, delivery, and installation of a modular building for CSU.
  • A contract not to exceed $250,000 with DIJ Construction for annual pavement striping and markings.
  • The first reading of a franchise agreement with Texas Commercial Waste for the collection of demolition and construction debris, recyclables, and organic waste from commercial, industrial and multifamily locations.
  • The first reading of a franchise agreement with Maroon Dumpsters for the collection of demolition and construction debris, recyclables, and organic waste from commercial, industrial and multifamily locations.
  • An inter-local cooperation agreement and a resolution of support and consent for the City of Bryan Municipal Setting Designation Application.

6:38 p.m.

FY 20 Budget Amendment

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a $6.25 million amendment to the city’s FY 20 budget. For more details about the amendment items, see page 291 of the agenda packet. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:40 p.m.

Yellow Tanager Court Right-of-Way

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve the abandonment of a small portion of right-of-way west of the Yellow Tanager Court-Cinnamon Teal Drive intersection in the Bird Pond Phase 2 Subdivision. The abandonment allows the development of the nearby Waterford Estates.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:44 p.m.

Mission Ranch Easement

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve the abandonment of a 15-foot wide portion of an unused public utility easement in the Mission Ranch development. The abandonment allows for development.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:10 p.m.

Advanced Electric Meter Contracts

The council voted unanimously to approve contracts of $6.8 million with Landis+Gyr Technology and $517,000 with IPKeys Power Partners to support the implementation of CSU’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and Meter & Operational Data Management (MODM) System.

The item wasn’t a public hearing, but resident Denise Snyder spoke about what she claims are the negative health effects of the meters.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:15 p.m.

Data Backup and Recovery Contract

The council voted unanimously to approve a five-year agreement not to exceed $517,118 with Freeit Data Solutions for data backup and recovery.

The IT Department is replacing internet firewalls, desktop antivirus software, and email protection systems. Enhanced data protection is necessary to combat the increasing sophistication of cyber attackers and in preparation for disasters.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:17 p.m.

Board and Commission Appointments

The council approved the appointment of Linda Harvell to the Spring Creek Local Government Corporation, Mayor Mooney to the Architectural Advisory Committee, and John Nichols to the Compensation and Benefits Committee.

7:20 p.m.

After the council discussed future agenda items, Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again Thursday, Feb. 27.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as the associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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We share responsibility for effective cybersecurity

By Neil Black, IT Network Analyst, and Xiaoying Hu, Chief Information Security Officer 

A recent study at USC Annenberg found that Americans spend an average of 24 hours a week online. In a university town such as College Station, the hours spent online are likely even greater.

So are the risks.

As more people use the internet for online shopping, banking, financial management, and socializing, they also expose themselves to increased cyber risks. Online threats and cyber-attacks threaten our national and economic security.

The City of College Station is joining with the Department of Homeland Security to raise cybersecurity awareness during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month throughout October.

Cybersecurity is not just the responsibility of governments, companies, groups, or individuals. Everyone shares the responsibility for cybersecurity – from the average smartphone user to a corporate CEO.

Here are some basic steps you can take today to reduce the risk of a cyberattack.

Manage your password

Pick strong passwords for all your devices and don’t share them with anyone. In addition, never send a plain text password by email, instant message, or any other means that isn’t reliably secure.

You should also avoid entering your password on any device if you’re not sure the device is secure. Finally, don’t store your password on the device it’s designed to protect.

Be wary of phishing

Phishing is a type of online scam where criminals use email messages, websites, and phone calls that appear to be from a legitimate organization to ask you for sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, account data, or other information.

About 156 million phishing emails are sent globally every day. The damage caused ranges from losing email access to substantial financial loss.

If you suspect a phishing email is in your inbox, don’t open it, don’t download attachments, don’t reply, and never click links.

Protect your online life

If a website, email, or text seems suspicious, be wary and don’t click any links they may contain. The links or attachments could contain malware. The best thing to do it to delete these messages immediately.

Your personal information is your property. Be leery of unsolicited contact from individuals seeking personal information, and don’t provide personal information or passwords by email or phone. Pay close attention to website URLs that use variations in spelling or unusual domains. To verify the authenticity of a request, contact the company directly.

If possible, you should use an internet firewall at home to keep cyber intruders out of your personal information. It’s also a good idea to update the security software, operating system, and web browser on all of your internet-connected devices. Keeping your security software up to date will prevent attackers from taking advantage of known vulnerabilities.

Secure your mobile device

Hackers want to use your mobile device as a gateway to you or your organization’s data. The content and contacts stored on your mobile device are the types of data cyberattackers need to hack into your accounts or company network.

Here are four easy ways to secure your mobile device:

  1. Update the security software regularly.
  2. Update your apps routinely, delete unneeded apps, and download apps only from trusted sources after checking reviews. You should configure app permissions immediately after downloading.
  3. Secure your devices with passcodes or other strong authentication such as fingerprint recognition.
  4. Turn off discovery mode and activate “find device” and “remote wipe.”

Free Wi-Fi really isn’t free, so make sure you’re connecting to a legitimate Wi-Fi hotspot. Your device will typically pick up the strongest signal, which could be a rogue Wi-Fi that seems reliable but is actually an attacker waiting to monitor, intercept, or even alter communications from your device.

Learn more about National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and how to protect yourself from threats online at dhs.gov/ncsam.

 


About the Bloggers

Network Systems Analyst Neil Black has been with the City of College Station’s IT Department since 1997. A native of Houston, Neil studied business management at Texas A&M.

Information Security Officer Xiaoying Hu has been with the IT Department since September. She previously worked for the City of Houston.


 

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