To protect against cyber threats, many state governments have formed specialized task forces to address issues like ransomware, phishing and other forms of cyber attacks. But what have these groups accomplished so far?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, at least 30 states have created a statewide cybersecurity task force, commission, advisory council, or similar group in the past several years. Most were established through executive orders, the website states, but at least eight states created these initiatives through legislation.
The states that have implemented these types of working groups include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia.
A PERSISTENT THREAT
When it comes to cybersecurity in state and local government, industry experts point to myriad challenges, including ransomware attacks, open source software vulnerabilities, phishing emails, outdated legacy code and other issues.
Some of these issues were recently discussed at the RSA Conference, where experts weighed in on zero-trust security architectures, long-awaited cybersecurity grant funding, cyber insurance and addressing misinformation.
To put the issue further into perspective, computer security service company SecuLore Solutions found that 49 states and Washington, D.C., have been affected by cyber attacks in the past 24 months. Similar threats have also impacted 90 public safety agencies and 199 local governments.
Other statistics from a November 2021 international report from CyberEdge reaffirmed this trend stating that more than 68 percent of surveyed government organizations were compromised by one or more cyber attacks within the past 12 months. The report surveyed 1,200 public- and private-sector IT security professionals from 17 countries and focused on organizations with at least 500 employees. Government respondents made up more than 4 percent of…