Municipalities call for more state funding of cybersecurity efforts | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Cybersecurity threats continue to loom for local governments across the Commonwealth. Several have told lawmakers they have experienced close calls with security breaches.

“Our system tracks all the attacks that we get and there can be several hundred a day that try to get in,” said Mark Stivers, the Columbia Borough Manager.

Last Wednesday, Stivers met with state lawmakers to address concerns about supporting local cybersecurity efforts. He said the costs of maintaining a secure network consume much of the borough’s budget.

“We spend around $80,000 a year for IT services. We spend around $11,000 a year on cell phones. We spend around $9,000 on cybersecurity insurance,” said Stivers.

Last year, the Shapiro administration announced that $5.2 million in federal funding would be available to help with local cybersecurity projects in Pennsylvania. However, local governments are urging lawmakers for additional state funding.

“The technology that goes with protecting from cybercriminals is expensive,” said Brian Rengert, the deputy director of government affairs with the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors. “A lot of these grants are one-time funding sources, but the technology is a recurring cost.”

In addition to state funding, cybersecurity experts say that providing cybersecurity training will also be key to protecting local governments.

“A strong foundation is the key,” said Scott Davis, the director of the Cybersecurity Association of Pennsylvania. “I talked about employee training, which is a critical component. Patching, a critical fundamental.”

Local governments are encouraging more cooperation with state lawmakers, in order to be better protected from cyberattacks.

“The ability for the state to provide technical support, financial support for all of us will be vital,” said Stivers.

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National Cyber Security