Mebane’s city council approved a resolution this week honoring the city’s first IT director, Ray Smith, who is pictured on the left with Mebane city manager David Cheek. Smith, the city’s IT director since 2015, has announced his intention to retire on February 1.
Cheek and the council credited Smith improving the city’s technology systems by creating a “robust 10-location” computer network; improving communication; expanding public Wi-Fi to all city-owned facilities; and saving an estimated $20,000 per year by switching the city’s phone system to a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP)-based system, which allows phone calls to be made and received over an internet connection, rather than a traditional landline.
Cheek said this week’s that Smith’s efforts to enhance the city’s computer network security have prevented numerous malicious intrusions, including 4.3 million attempted intrusions within the last two months alone.
The state Department of Information Technology reported last fall that ransomware and other malicious attacks had damaged seven local government networks in North Carolina in 2019, including one last spring that forced the Orange County Register of Deeds’ office to close briefly and affected law enforcement communications. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that prevents the owner/operator from using a computer until a ransom is paid. Ransomware attacks are typically spread through emails that appear to be from legitimate sources and contain attachments, which trigger the attack once the attachment is opened.