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Michigan fights millions of cyberattacks daily

Cybersecurity experts call it “urgent national and international security issue”
Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 4:56 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Michigan State Police says it’s seeing more and more cyberattacks across the state. And anyone can be a victim. A cyberattack has disrupted Wednesday’s ferry service to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

The Massachusetts Steamship Authority, which operates the ferries, said it is the victim of a ransomware attack.

This is just the latest in a series of attacks.

Over Memorial Day Weekend, meat supplier JBS was hit with a ransomware attack. Last month, another ransomware attack shut down the Colonial Pipeline, causing a gas shortage along the east coast.

Cybersecurity experts are now calling this an “urgent national and international security issue.”

“In the digital world that we’re in, we’re all interconnected,” said Laura Clark, State of Michigan Chief Security Officer.

Clark said hackers try more than 90 million times a day to get into state servers and most of they time, the hackers are stopped.

“Government is a target for cyber criminals. We do have a lot a large amount of data that sits within our network that if someone was able to access it, it would be valuable for them,” said Clark.

Common attacks hacks are ransomware attacks, where someone puts malware on a server and encrypts the information until someone pays a fee. Most of the time, the attack starts with a spam email.

“This problem won’t go away at all. It’s too profitable and quite frankly too easy to perform,” said Jason Mitchell, Lansing Community College cybersecurity professor.

Mitchell said part of the problem is there isn’t enough people working in IT to really fight the problem.

“It really should be sending off alarm bells for the people in charge and saying what would happen if we got breached,” he said.

That’s something the state is looking at now because it has just about everyone’s sensitive information.

Clark said it works with other governments and corporations to help protect this information where ever it is stored.

“Really we take an approach in the state of Michigan to look at cybersecurity as an ecosystem,” she said.

The state police said the best way to protect yourself and your business from a cyberattack is to make sure you use different passwords for different accounts and to turn on two step authentication. That sends a code straight to your phone.

The Michigan State Police Cyber Command Center offers tips to people so they can avoid becoming a victim.

Copyright 2021 WILX. All rights reserved.

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