Fed funds bolster state anti-hacking efforts

Posted by: Digital Geek

Fed funds bolster state anti-hacking efforts - 05/23/05 05:21 PM

Viruses, hackers, terrorists, blackouts and natural disasters are just a few of the threats Dan Lohrmann has to think about every day in his job as the state's chief information security officer.

On an average day, 30,000 computer viruses try to infiltrate state government computers. Over the course of the average month, the state must fend off 100,000 hacker attempts.

"Are we in a cyber war? Personally, I believe we are," Lohrmann said Wednesday at a forum sponsored by Michigan State University's Institute for Public Policy and Social Research. "It's really something that's growing in this country and it's something we need to deal with."

The state has been using $400,000 in federal homeland security grants awarded over the past two years to improve its computer system security. It put in backup generators at its largest data centers to prevent records from being lost if the power goes out because of storms, blackouts or possible attacks.

It also has added spam filters for e-mail and software that keeps state computers from accessing Internet sites that could carry viruses, ads or spyware, or that involve gambling, intolerance or hate, adult or sexually explicit material or dating services.

"Many of us wouldn't go to certain places in the world at 2 a.m. because we feel it's not safe, but we'll go to any Web site," said Lohrmann, who also is chairman of the Information Security Committee of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers. "People think, 'You can't get hurt with a computer.' Oh yes you can."

To help protect its computer systems and the public, the state unveiled a Web site recently that offers online computer security training and information on privacy protection, computer use for children and the prevention of identity theft.

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