"It's not always just stealing data, it's the ability to bring down denial of service, to bring down a critical service that the state needs."
In addition to protecting the state's website, it's Michigan's Cyber Initiative to educate citizens to protect themselves. That includes business owners and other governments who may be looking to shore up security to prevent an attack for one reason or another. If you're wondering how or why you need to protect your computer-- the state has an answer. Do you know what a worm is? Not only can you define it along with viruses and trojans, you can learn how to keep them out by installing firewalls and anti-virus software.
It's an attitude of sharing the state is aggressively adopting to both keep Michigan and its citizens safe.
"Helping others, sharing information, helping us work together to prevent cyber attacks and disruptions of critical infrastructure," is what the state's Chief Security Officer Dan Lohrmann calls it. "It's not always just stealing data, it's the ability to bring down denial of service, to bring down a critical service that the state needs."
Preparing yourself now, will make it that much tougher to be victimized by hackers whose attacks are always getting more sophisticated and unpredictable.
"In the future, attacks could be against medical devices that are put in your heart or cars that drive themselves," says Lohrmann. Startling, considering a recent survey by Car insurance.com found 20 percent of Americans would gladly let a self-driving car take over for them. The number jumps to 33 percent if it would include a huge decrease in insurance rates. Wonder what those numbers would be had respondents been asked, "Would you drive an autonomous car knowing there was a chance it could be hacked?"
It's the unknown that is Lohrmann's task to protect against, because the hackers are always getting better.
"You have to be right every time in stopping the bad guys," he says. "You're coming up with new defenses, and they're coming up with new ways to get into systems and break into the networks. So, it's constantly evolving, constantly changing just like technology is changing."
As that technology changes for the better, i.e. pacemakers and self-driving cars, it's becoming more evident according to Lohrmann that cyber security will be with us the rest of our lives.
"Those wonderful things you can do with technology, someone's (always) going to try an turn that and use it for evil."
To learn more about Michigan's Cyber Initiative-- including how to become your own cyber security expert-- go to the link at the end of this story for ways to protect yourself, your business and your government.