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St. Cloud, Fla., Warns Residents After Cyber Attack

The city is cautioning constituents to look for signs of identity theft, after its phone lines and online payment system were compromised March 25. After the incident, officials worked with a third-party specialist to investigate.

(TNS) — More than two months after St. Cloud was hit by a cyber attack city officials are warning residents to stay alert for any signs of identity theft.

The city woke up March 25 to inoperative phone lines and online payment systems across departments after it was targeted by cyber criminals.

Now officials are urging residents to “remain vigilant” and check personal information such as account statements, credit reports and explanation of benefits forms for any unusual activity.

After the incident the city launched an investigation with help of a third-party cybersecurity specialist.

The probe is ongoing but the specialist determined cyber criminals accessed some city systems that could reveal residents’ names, addresses, birth dates, Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, medical information, health insurance information and financial account information, according to a press release.

Once the inquiry is complete the city will send out notices to those whose information was accessed, the release said. Resident with questions may call 800-939-4170 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

And the city is taking steps to prepare itself for the next cyber attack.

This week officials applied for a $100,000 grant to help purchase security software through a program under the Florida Department of Management Services.

The program began in 2023 and has already had buy-in across the state as 193 entities in 57 counties received grants in the first year, according to a press release. This year the state allocated $40 million to keep the program funded. St. Cloud will learn in October if it receives a grant.

While the city says cyber attacks are common and people shouldn’t panic, officials hope with the state’s help they can prevent future problems.

“Cyber incidents are increasingly common for individuals, businesses and industries,” city spokeswoman Maryemma Bachelder said by email. “Businesses and industries, including governments, are always looking for ways to combat the threat.”

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