Back to the Jul-Aug 2022 issue

How Can We Prevent Cyberattacks on Our City’s IT Systems?


Q: It seems like I hear about cyberattacks almost daily now. What is the best software we can use to prevent an attack on our city’s systems?

Fending off cybercrime.LMC: It’s no longer enough to just have antivirus software to identify viruses and protect your computer. Traditional antivirus software works like a fingerprint to identify harmful viruses, so it only knows what it has on record as a virus. It is a good method, but just one layer of a good security strategy. Here is a quick overview of five layers of protection your city should consider:

Endpoint detection and response software identifies threats that antivirus software systems have not yet identified. This software monitors your systems looking for anomalies in patterns of activity.

Application allowlist is a process where program files must be approved to run within your environment. Files not on the list must be approved by an administration-level process.

Ransomware rollback is a tool that can assist with reverting your affected system back to the best-known healthy state.

Next-generation firewalls are more intelligent than the traditional firewall. These systems are designed to look closer at the content of each piece of information flowing through to detect and filter malicious code.

Intrusion detection systems (IDS) and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) continually monitor for malicious traffic by using predetermined rules and behavior analysis. An IDS will alert, while an IPS will attempt to trap and stop the suspicious traffic.

Answered by Chief Information Officer Melissa Reeder:

Human Resources

Q: Is the city required by law to give our employees cost-of-living salary increases?

LMC: There is no state or federal law requiring the city to give cost-of-living increases to its employees. However, the city may have an obligation under a union contract, personnel ordinance, or policy provision. In addition, if the city does not keep up with what other employers are paying for similar job duties, it may experience low employee morale, decreases in productivity, high turnover, and/or difficulty in recruiting. Many employers use inflation measures, such as the Consumer Price Index, to help set salary increases for their employees. Learn more from chapter 4 of the LMC HR Reference Manual at

Answered by Human Resources Director Laura Kushner:


Q: Are employees covered by the city’s League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) automobile liability coverage when driving their personal vehicles for city business?

LMC: Yes. The city’s LMCIT coverage will cover the employee when driving a personal vehicle if the use is within the course and scope of the employee’s duties. For example, an employee is not covered when commuting to and from home at regularly scheduled times. The employee would be covered when traveling to a work meeting or conducting business outside city hall. Some examples include a firefighter responding to an emergency call, a building official conducting an inspection, or a public works employee called from home to respond to a sewer backup.

LMCIT’s auto liability coverage is, by default, excess over the vehicle owner’s own coverage. That is, LMCIT coverage will come into play if liability exceeds the vehicle owner’s own liability coverage limits. Cities have the option to make LMCIT’s auto liability coverage primary for privately owned vehicles used on city business. However, LMCIT does not provide coverage for damage to an employee’s own vehicle. Learn more on page 12 of the LMCIT Auto Coverage Guide at

Answered by Risk Management Attorney Chris Smith:

Land Use

Q: We regularly have residents wondering where their property lines are for things like building fences and determining setbacks for sheds. Can we help them locate their property lines?

LMC: Property lines need to be determined by a licensed land surveyor. In Minnesota, there are rules and regulations governing the requirements necessary for licensure as a land surveyor or affiliated practitioner. While city staff are often knowledgeable about property lines and reading maps, the city could face liability if it helps residents make a property line determination when there is a dispute.

Land surveying establishes legal property rights. Surveying allows you to understand your boundaries and settle questions related to easements and setbacks. It also helps you plan for future improvements and settle legal disputes. Cities should establish best practices, including procedural safeguards to ensure they are not representing themselves or their employees as licensed in this field. MC

Answered by Law Clerk Alex Arvold and Research Manager Amber Eisenschenk: