California Forms Anti-Hack Task Force

SACRAMENTO (CN) – A new cybersecurity task force will reinforce online security and protect critical state information from data breaches, Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday.
     The California Cybersecurity Integration Center will work with other state agencies to strengthen information security and minimize damage from hacking.
      Brown’s executive order warns of the state’s vulnerability to data breaches that could reveal critical economic and personal information.
     “Cyber attacks aimed at breaching and damaging computer networks and infrastructure in California represent a major security risk and increase the state’s vulnerability to economic disruption, critical infrastructure damage, privacy violations and identify theft,” Brown’s order states.
     Brown issued the order one week after an audit blasted the state for its lax security measures, finding just 73 of 77 state entities comply with information security standards. The 75-page audit criticized the California Department of Technology for failing to identify failing state agencies, and found the state vulnerable to hackers.
     “Because of the nature of its self-certification process, the technology department was unaware of vulnerabilities in these reporting entities’ information security controls; thus, it did nothing to help remediate those deficiencies,” the audit states.
     In his order, Brown directed state entities that are failing security standards to work with the center to upgrade security.
     The cybersecurity center will help the technology department monitor state entities and issue warnings of potential cyber attacks. The center will include officials from state agencies including the California Highway Patrol, the Office of the Attorney General and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
     It will coordinate with federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security to “strengthen the state’s cybersecurity strategy.”
     International hacking groups have been blamed for several recent online breaches, including a May cyber attack on the Internal Revenue Service. Hackers got Social Security numbers and health records of more than 220,000 citizens.
     Federal officials said Monday that Chinese and Russian spies are indexing hacked U.S. computer databases and have interfered with U.S. intelligence programs. Officials also suspect Chinese hackers of a February attack that revealed private information of 78 million Anthem Blue Cross customers.

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