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Maryland Works To Increase Cybersecurity

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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Cyber attacks on a number of retailers and universities have jeopardized some personal information of hundreds of thousands of Marylanders. Now we are learning some state agencies are not immune from those cybersecurity risks, either.

Derek Valcourt has more on the threats and what the state is doing about them.

The state now keeps track of what they call “cyber incidents” and found several affecting state agencies last year.

A 2013 cyber incident report obtained by the Capital News Service details cyber risks reported by various Maryland state agencies. Though no serious security breaches occurred, the report shows malicious codes infecting computers at the Department of Transportation to a phishing scam affecting more than 100 at the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

“Anything that is not normal, everyday operations, we want to know about that so we can detect patterns, common incidents between agencies and that gives us intelligence that we can act upon,” said Maryland Cyber Security Director Elliot Schlanger.

Acting on it becomes crucial as more and more state agencies do business with the public electronically. Everything from registering our cars to paying our taxes can now be done online.

“It takes just one time, a breach in a system, everybody’s information is released,” said State Senator Catherine Pugh.

Pugh is helping to lead the cybersecurity charge in Maryland’s legislature. She plans bills to make sure customers affected by a data breach are notified quickly and wants to establish a cybersecurity framework for state agencies.

“There are certain standards that the federal government puts in place as it relates to technology and as it relates to the protection of information, so we want to make sure that every agency is doing that, as well,” she said.

Already, some 40,000 state workers are taking part in monthly cybersecurity training programs aimed at teaching them the best ways to help protect sensitive information.

This week, retailer Michaels announced a data breach jeopardized debit and credit card information from nearly three million customers.

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