New Indiana law works to prevent cybersecurity breaches

Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS – Amid the growing threat of cyberattacks, a new Indiana law seeks to prevent those breaches on government and other public agencies.

House Bill 1169, which was signed into law in April and takes effect July 1, will require government-funded entities to report any known attempted or successful cyberattacks to the Indiana Office of Technology.

“If it can happen to us, it can happen to anyone,” said Faith Brautigam, director of the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library.

The library system was hit with a ransomware attack last fall, Brautigam said, forcing its facilities to shut down for several days.

“There were things that we just had no idea that we would need to do,” Brautigam said. “And so, it was a great learning experience but a difficult one.”

As evidence of lawmakers’ urgency to stop cyberattacks, no one in the entire state legislature voted against the new law.

“I think it’s on everybody’s radar,” said State Rep. Mike Karickhoff (R-Kokomo). “Small towns, larger cities, schools, lots of political subdivisions have been attacked.”

The Indiana Office of Technology is preparing a website to report breaches after the law takes effect in July, according to Graig Lubsen, communications and external affairs director.

“The state government is connected to the local government and vice-versa through a variety of means,” Lubsen said. “So, a vulnerability in the state level or in the local level can jeopardize those systems as well.”

The goal is to use those reports to warn other government agencies that could be at risk and educate them on prevention, Karickhoff said.

“If they see five cities attacked all using the same software, you better believe if there are 25 cities using it, those other 20 cities are all going to get notified, ‘Hey, there have been five attacks on someone using this vendor,’” he explained.

“If you can avoid having a cyber incident, that is in your own best interest,” Brautigam said.

State lawmakers will review the reports of cyberattacks that come in over the next year and use that information to consider future legislation, State Rep. Karickhoff said.

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