Bill seeks to prevent cyberattacks against government IT systems


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WDVM) — When Baltimore City fell prey to a ransom demand for release from a cyberattack. municipal government was paralyzed. Home buyers could not get their deeds recorded. Drivers could not verify their traffic citations were paid.

A similar attack crippled the police department in Salisbury, Maryland.

To protect state and local governments from such vulnerability, Senator Susan Lee (D-Montgomery) and Delegate Ned Carey (D-Anne Arundel) have sponsored legislation to develop cybersecurity strategies for state and local governments, extending even to school systems and other public entities.

Lee compares the bill to “having a fire extinguisher in the IT center of every public agency to put out digital fires.”

Consideration of the bill coincides with the Maryland State Police computer crimes unit promoting public observance of Internet Safety Day to draw attention to the danger of cyberattacks.

The Annapolis area YMCA is hosting community workshops this week to make internet users aware of security dangers.

And just this week, the U.S. Department of Justice took action against the Chinese for a massive hacking of data at the consumer finance company, Equifax, where millions of Social Security numbers, bank account information and credit records are collected.

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