Maryland governor signs bills to strengthen cybersecurity

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Gov. Larry Hogan signed measures to strengthen cybersecurity in state and native governments in Maryland on Thursday, after lawmakers authorized laws and massive investments this 12 months to guard important methods towards cyberattacks.

One of the measures goals to assist native governments, faculty methods and well being departments work with extra assets and help from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency to enhance cybersecurity. The company will help native governments in growing vulnerability assessments and response plans.

“Today we are signing into law bipartisan legislation to continue solidifying our standing as the cyber capital of America, and further strengthen our infrastructure to protect Marylanders against cyberattacks,” the Republican governor mentioned, in a reference to the variety of cybersecurity firms within the state, in addition to cyber-related federal businesses and navy installations.

In a 12 months of big funds surplus, Maryland lawmakers authorized roughly $570 million for cybersecurity and data know-how upgrades within the legislative session that ended final month. That consists of about $200 million for cybersecurity and practically $334 million for info know-how growth initiatives.

State Sen. Katie Fry Hester, a Democrat who was the lead Senate sponsor of cybersecurity laws, mentioned it’s important to guard the state’s fundamental public infrastructure.

“Now, everything is electronic: our drinking water, our transportation, our public safety, our education, our financial systems – this is the government’s responsibility to maintain,” she mentioned. “We have to make sure that our Marylanders’ day-to-day routines are not disrupted, and I think these three bills in combination with the $570 million in the 2023 budget will get us a long ways toward achieving those goals.”

Hogan additionally signed a invoice to create reporting necessities for state businesses and native governments, together with reporting of cybersecurity incidents. Agencies will likely be required to finish a cybersecurity evaluation and to remediate findings. Local authorities entities should seek the advice of with the native emergency supervisor to create or replace a cybersecurity preparedness and response plan.

Another measure expands cybersecurity necessities for state businesses and water and sewer methods. It requires public or personal water or sewer methods that serve 10,000 or extra customers and obtain monetary help from the state to evaluate their vulnerability to a cyber assault.

Last 12 months, a hacker gained entry to the system controlling the water therapy plant of a Florida metropolis of 15,000 and tried to taint the water provide with a caustic chemical. Cybersecurity consultants mentioned the incident uncovered a hazard that has grown as methods change into each extra computerized and accessible through the web.

A provision within the invoice additionally requires that no less than 20% of the quantity spent on info know-how in fiscal 12 months 2023 to be spent within the following fiscal 12 months.

State and native governments are ripe targets for hackers, at the same time as President Joe Biden’s administration has introduced further steps to safeguard federal authorities methods from hacking. Cities even have come below cyberattack.

Baltimore County was certainly one of about 50 faculty methods throughout the nation attacked with ransomware in 2020, costing the county thousands and thousands of {dollars}. In December, Maryland’s well being division was hit by a ransomware assault that impeded details about well being metrics referring to COVID-19.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.

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