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Published: Saturday, 10/8/2011

Gov. Snyder calls for new Michigan cyber command center, more growth in cybersecurity industry

ASSOCIATED PRESS

YPSILANTI, Mich. — The governor unveiled a new plan Friday to help protect Michigan from cyber threats including establishing a command center for emergencies and a response team to support state government, and critical businesses and agencies if they are hacked.

Gov. Rick Snyder said he wants the economically challenged state that has lost thousands of jobs in recent years to take advantage of opportunities in the cybersecurity industry.

"The benefits of online technology are enormous," he said in a statement. "Unfortunately, attacks on our personal safety and economic security through the Internet continue to grow and expand. Whether it's identity theft, espionage or those who prey on our children, these threats affect all of us — families, businesses and government at all levels."

Snyder unveiled the plan Friday in Ypsilanti at a summit with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and other federal officials.

The state police would coordinate cyber emergency responses at the proposed command center. Under Snyder's plan, the government would work with universities on cybersecurity technology and develop high school and college curriculums to advance the field.

A task force also would share homeland security intelligence and provide an online cyber toolkit for safeguarding homes, businesses, government and schools.

"States operate information systems and industrial controls the way any large business or enterprise might," said Gregory Schaffer, acting deputy undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security.

"What we've seen is there are multiple threats from 'hacktivists,' who use the Internet to advance their causes," Schaffer said. "You have organized crime, the most sophisticated nation-state actors ... taking action to intrude upon, and take data out of, a large range of networks."

Schaffer said October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month and a reminder that there are risks with any activity online. Because of the anonymity of the Internet, identifying cyber intruders can be difficult and time-consuming, he added.

"The Internet was not built for us to know who is making each action," Schaffer said. "It may take quite some time to prove who the actor is. Good cyber hygiene: good passwords, security hardware and software can block a high percentage."
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Online: Michigan Cyber Initiative



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