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Slotkin leads field hearing to highlight cyber security issues

A Congressional Committee was in East Lansing Tuesday to hear directly from top cybersecurity officials on their work to protect Americans, including residents in Michigan, from an increasingly disruptive threat: ransomware.

The field hearing of the Intelligence and Counterterrorism Subcommittee was convened by its Chair, 8th District Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, who said the issues being discussed definitely had local impact, noting that a ransomware attack in East Lansing two years ago wound up costing $1 million.

“As serious as these attacks are, they’re only becoming more frequent: hackers try over 90 million times *per day* to break into our state government’s servers,” said Slotkin.

Slotkin said witnesses at the hearing addressed the resources Michigan State Police have available at the state level, as well as a new cyber incident reporting system that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is developing at the federal level.

She said they also discussed expanding cyber training for local law enforcement so they can assist in instances of cyber attacks.

“I’ve heard from constituents representing schools, local governments and small businesses who feel like their data is on the frontlines,” she stated.

Among those in attendance was Brighton Mayor Kris Tobbe, who also serves as Livingston County’s chief information officer.

“By shining the light on Ransomware, it creates greater awareness to help fight cyber crimals and their tactics,” said Tobbe. “By sharing federal and state resources available to local agencies & leaders to address cyber crimes the Committee is helping Governments & businesses to come together to fight cyber criminals.”

Also present was Pinckney Village President Rebecca Foster who said it was helpful in that it highlighted resources that have not been well promoted.

“It was an interesting learning experience and really showed that agency outreach is non-existent,” said Foster. “That is not a negative comment on the session itself. – it was a great idea and the panel was good. It’s just that, why was this roundtable the first I am hearing that the state has a cyber division that has resources and assistance available to shore up community cyber security?”

To that end, Slotkin posted details and contact information on her social media on how to reach CISA in Michigan to schedule a conversation.

That can be done by emailing CISARegion5@hq.dhs.gov or by calling (888) 282-0870.

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