Illinois Secretary of State, Attorney General prioritize cybersecurity in budget requests | Top Stories | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) — State lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn in a month and budget discussions are already underway. The Illinois Secretary of State and Attorney General told the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday that they are both prioritizing cybersecurity improvements in their budget requests.

Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias is proposing an $825 million budget for Fiscal Year 2025. Giannoulias explained his team spent $75 million to improve his office’s technology last year, but he believes there are still critical needs in cybersecurity. 

Giannoulias stressed that the Secretary of State’s IT systems had not been updated in decades and the only employees who understand the technology are set to retire.

“We cannot delay this important work any longer,” Giannoulias said. “There is too much at stake. We must eliminate our dependence on a legacy COBOL coding system and fix our cybersecurity needs which could lead to massive operational disruption.”

The Democrat said his team spent a significant amount of funding to create and operate the state’s new DMV online appointment system. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are celebrating the major improvement that cut down on unnecessary wait times.

“You’re taking this seriously,” said Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet). “You’re doing what needs to be done, and I’ve noticed it. It’s not often that I get a chance to say thanks to somebody in state government for just seeing a problem and fixing it.”

Meanwhile, Attorney General Kwame Raoul hopes to receive an $8.5 million boost in funding for office general operations. Raoul told senators he is also requesting a $500,000 increase in general revenue funds to provide more grants for victims of violent crimes.

The Democrat noted that he is also committed to improving cybersecurity with a $1 million investment for FY25.

“Notably, in seeking to purchase cybersecurity insurance, we are once again publicly affirming our continuous commitment to keeping our agency’s sensitive data and infrastructure secure,” Raoul said.

The Attorney General also noted that his office has received more than $198 million in payments from opioid distributors and manufacturers through settlement agreements. Raoul said Illinois should receive more than $1.3 billion over 18 years under the finalized national opioid settlements.

Raoul and Giannoulias explained they would both like to receive a reasonable amount of funding to help recruit and retain staff as well.

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