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Cyberattacks against North Dakota state government skyrocket to 15M per month

Attempted cyberattacks against North Dakota state government nearly tripled last year, according to the Grand Forks Herald

Shawn Riley, North Dakota’s chief information officer and head of the information technology department, said there were more than 15 million cyberattacks against the state’s government per month in 2019, a 300 percent increase since 2018.

In 2018, there were about 5 million attempted cyberattacks per month.

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These figures aren’t surprising, however. Local governments nationwide have seen an increase in cyberattacks. Often, foreign criminals will infect a government computer with ransomware, holding important government documents hostage until a certain amount of money is exchanged.

Last month, the mayor of New Orleans declared a state of emergency over a cyberattack of this nature.

“That’s part of a world trend,” Riley said. “We’re trending a little higher than certain organizations, but, yeah, pretty substantial increases overall.”

On Friday, a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Cybersecurity State Coordinator Actwhich would enact a federally funded program to establish state cybersecurity leaders nationwide, increasing the ability of states to respond to cyberattacks.

“Cyberattacks can be devastating for communities across our country, from ransomware attacks that can block access to school or medical records to cyberattacks that can shut down electrical grids or banking services,” Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) said in a statement. 

“The federal government needs to do more to ensure that state and local entities have the resources and training that they need to prevent and respond to cyberattacks,” Hassan added.

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