Government

State Sen. Wahls: Cybersecurity issues key in Iowa, not just coastal cities

State Sen. Zach Wahls and ProCircular CEO Aaron Warner discuss cybersecurity in government and business at ProCircular’s Coralville headquarters on Tuesday, June 18, 2019. (Thomas Friestad/The Gazette)
State Sen. Zach Wahls and ProCircular CEO Aaron Warner discuss cybersecurity in government and business at ProCircular’s Coralville headquarters on Tuesday, June 18, 2019. (Thomas Friestad/The Gazette)

Cybersecurity issues, State Sen. Zach Wahls says, isn’t important just for big cities such as San Francisco or New York — “It’s happening right here in Coralville, too.”

Following a Tuesday tour of ProCircular, a Coralville-based information security and privacy company, Wahls expressed a hope for Iowa lawmakers to take on cybersecurity as a key issue as the 2020 state legislative session draws closer.

“Just having a frame of mind, understanding this as an issue, as something we should be planning for and talking about, that’s got to be the first step, and then individual policies will follow from that,” he said.

Wahls, D-Coralville, said a closer look at the investments local and state businesses, governments and schools are making to protect their sensitive data, including training for staff members, could be warranted.

ProCircular CEO Aaron Warner said, over the past six months, his company has helped repatriate approximately $3 million to clients, frequently lost to wire transfer fraud stemming from emailed phishing attempts.

Founded in 2016 and with 22 employees, ProCircular services businesses in Iowa’s education, finance and health care industries, as well as multiple government entities and agencies.

Warner also brought up ransomware, or malicious software used to extract payment from victims in exchange for access to data. Such software recently has hit larger cities such as Baltimore and Atlanta, he said, but still could have a “devastating” impact on smaller cities and businesses in Iowa.

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“It’s pretty complex, the ransomware that they’re using, and it evolves constantly,” Warner said. “It’s definitely a moving target.”

• Comments: (319) 398-8366; thomas.friestad@thegazette.com

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