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A number of governors are calling on their states' IT departments to ensure critical infrastructure is protected.
Following Russian cyberattacks on the Ukraine government and banking system, several U.S. governors are calling on their IT departments to ensure their state's critical infrastructure is secure from cyberattack.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to the Texas Department of Information Resources and the Department of Public Safety directing both agencies to use their resources to safeguard critical infrastructure and to help local governments and school districts with their needs.
Abbott called for enhancing the state's cybersecurity through best practices and ensuring attacks can be quickly detected by use of antivirus and endpoint detection and response tools. He also urged the departments to prepare for an intrusion and "maximize the state's resilience to a destructive cyber incident."
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order directing the Office of Information Technology (OIT) to focus on protecting the state’s critical infrastructure from Russian cyberattacks or misinformation efforts. The order also directs OIT and the Department of Personnel & Administration to terminate contracts with Russian state-owned companies and divest their Russian-owned assets. He also called on universities to reconsider grants and projects with Russia and divest endowments from Russian-owned assets.
OIT Chief Information Officer and Executive Director Tony Neal-Graves told News 9 that "Colorado will double-down on monitoring around the clock for state agencies."
Gov. Kathy Hochel said the state is "on heightened alert with respect to cybersecurity and our own defenses." She also signed an executive order requiring state agencies to divest public funds from Russia. Less than a week earlier, New York launched a Joint Security Operations Center to bring together federal, state, county, local governments and critical infrastructure partners to improve coordination and bolster cybersecurity efforts.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted that he had instructed the Joint Cybersecurity Task Force to increase outreach and assistance. The task force includes IT/cyber specialists from federal, state and local agencies and provides incident coordination, resource support and technical assistance to affected organizations.
New Jersey Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Cell, a component organization in the state's Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, warned that Russia would likely "continue to conduct disruptive and destructive cyberattacks, cyber espionage, and information operations against Ukraine and any governments or groups supporting Ukraine or opposed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine." It urged agencies to be on the lookout for information operations, cyber espionage and various cyberattacks and "ensure all preventive, detective, and responsive cybersecurity controls and plans are fully implemented and updated."
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the FBI issued a joint Cybersecurity Advisory Feb. 26 that includes an overview of the malware that has been used to target organizations in Ukraine as well as guidance on how organizations can detect and protect their networks.
CISA encouraged executives and leaders to review the advisory, assess their systems for malware delivery and/or propagation channels, implement common defensive strategies, contingency planning and preparation in the event of a cyberattack.
“In the wake of continued denial of service and destructive malware attacks affecting Ukraine and other countries in the region, CISA has been working hand-in-hand with our partners to identify and rapidly share information about malware that could threaten the operations of critical infrastructure here in the U.S.,” said CISA Director Jen Easterly.
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