This report first appeared on StateScoop.com.
A top federal cybersecurity official said Wednesday the Department of Homeland Security often lacks a clear picture of state and local governments’ network security, even as foreign adversaries increase their attempts to disrupt all levels of the public sector.
And while federal agencies are getting better at working with state and local authorities, they face an ongoing challenge of staying ahead of an evolving threat landscape.
“We don’t have good visibility in the state and local dot-gov [domain],” Rick Driggers, the deputy assistant director for cybersecurity at DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, said at FedScoop’s FedTalks event in Washington.
Driggers said one of the most immediate steps state and local governments can take is to enact more robust information sharing with federal cybersecurity authorities. He said hackers, especially those backed by foreign governments, have increased their focus on state and local governments, raising the threat that a local population could suffer the brunt of a successful cyberattack.
“We’ve seen in the last couple years more focused attention from nation-state adversaries, particularly with ransomware to attack or cause disruption at the state and local level,” he said. “At the end of the day, the state and local governments provide a lot of very valuable critical services to their populations. Those services going down causes a lot of disruption.”
Read more about Driggers’ comments on StateScoop.