Wake County took subtle strides overnight to improve its cybersecurity protections and increase the public’s confidence in local government. All staff email addresses and the county’s website have switched from wakegov.com to wake.gov, a significant transition only authorized with approvals from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“We want people to trust the links and emails they receive from us. These days, anyone can buy a .com website or email address and use it to spoof Wake County,” said Chair Shinica Thomas of the Wake County Board of Commissioners. “They can’t purchase a .gov domain, so by moving the county to wake.gov, we’re increasing security and protecting our residents from fraud.”
Across the globe, cybercriminals have increasingly been trying to impersonate government employees, websites and emails to entice people to click on malicious links, spread malware and share personal information or credentials. .Gov domains require stricter security control, which helps protect wake.gov visitors and ensures the content our employees publish is exactly what is received.
“The good news is you can still type ‘wakegov.com,’ and you’ll be redirected to the more secure wake.gov site. Emails will work the same way,” said Chief Information Officer Jonathan Feldman. “Our team worked hard to ensure the transition did not affect our services or prevent people from reaching us. All we ask is that everyone take a moment to update our contact information and adjust the online bookmarks and links to their favorite Wake County webpages.”
Wake County this morning launched a public awareness campaign about the domain change on social media. Using Valentine’s Day as a hook, it asks residents to “Love Your .Gov.”
Moving to a .gov site improves the security and searchability of Wake County’s online presence, and it ensures visitors are on the official county website, since only qualified U.S.-based government agencies are permitted to use the .gov domain. It was free to obtain, and the cost of switching over all of Wake County’s systems was paid for with maintenance funds already budgeted by the county’s Information Services Department.
Over time, the county will phase out all instances of wakegov.com online, in publications and on public-facing signage or materials.