How Minnesota Protects Critical Services From Cyberattacks – WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As the USA warns about potential assaults from Russian hackers, Minnesota is planning to spice up cyber-security.

Gov. Tim Walz desires to dedicate $21 million to assist defend the state’s companies and infrastructure.

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“It’s a hostile environment in the cyber space,” mentioned Rohit Tandon, Minnesota IT Companies assistant commissioner and chief info safety officer.

Right here in Minnesota, it’s not simply Russia we’re defending in opposition to. It’s organized crime items and different nation states, too.

“There’s a continuous defensive posture that we must maintain,” Tandon mentioned.

(credit score: CBS)

And there’s rather a lot to take care of. Cybersecurity takes tens of millions of {dollars} and 1000’s of workers to observe over vital state companies just like the Minnesota Division of Human Companies, Division of Transportation and Division of Public Security.

And if you happen to suppose breaches don’t occur within the U.S., suppose once more.

“We’ve seen some big ones over the last year to name a few, Colonial Pipeline, JBS foods, that was very close to home,” Tandon mentioned.

We requested Tandon about vital infrastructure just like the vitality grid or our water provide: Who’s keeping track of that?

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“We’re always open to having dialogue about the threats, we’re seeing and sharing that intelligence with them,” Tandon mentioned. “But I think they are an independent entity that is responsible for taking actions to defend and protect that infrastructure that they are responsible for.”

Xcel Vitality says it’s working with state and federal companions to intently monitor threats from Russia.

St. Paul Regional water companies will get alerts from those self same companions if there’s a severe concern. It additionally pays professionals to emphasize take a look at its programs to show vulnerabilities.

These vulnerabilities evolve with the occasions — from electronic mail phishing throughout pandemic lockdowns to focused assaults throughout the civil unrest of 2020.

(credit score: CBS)

“We had multiple cyber hacktivists, if I may use that term, targeting to trying to disrupt through denial of service attacks,” Tandon mentioned. “Resources such as unemployment insurance, health benefits, even how we provide drivers license services.’

And as those potential breaches loom, Tandon says, now is the time to double down.

“It is a challenge we continue to deal with,” Tandon mentioned.

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Tandon says his division gives each day briefings for all county companions to speak by present threats. There’s additionally federal funding for broader counties, cities and townships that the governor is seeking to match if his price range proposal is authorized.

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