utah state capitol (Maciej Bledowski/Shutterstock.com)

Utah launches cyber task force

Utah has launched a task force to promote cybersecurity awareness, share information, identify cybersecurity assets and resources, and promote best practices to enhance cyber capabilities and response.

Building on successful partnerships already established with the law enforcement community, the Governor’s Cybersecurity Task Force will create a cybersecurity advisory committee composed of members of the executive and legislative branches, representatives of critical infrastructure sectors, the business community and the Utah Education and Telehealth Network.

In Utah in 2020, there were 4,926 victims of cybercrime – a 50% increase from 2019 -- primarily from extortion and non-payment schemes. Utah residents suffered $47 million in losses, a 1.4% increase, with business email compromise responsible for just over $13,000, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety.

Utah’s 21 ransomware victims lost nearly $1.2 million, but not all victims report losses amount to the FBI, which can create an artificially low overall ransomware loss rate, officials said.

“I’m excited for the opportunity for our law enforcement cybersecurity experts in state government to team up with counterparts in other sectors to keep Utah safe in preparing for and responding to cyber attacks,” said Jess Anderson, commissioner of the Utah Department of Public Safety. “This task force will analyze the cyber threat to Utah and provide best practices, resources, education, mitigation, and incident response to cyber threats and cyber-attacks towards Utah-based private and public sector entities.”

“Neither the government nor the private sector has the information, authority, or resources to do it alone,” Utah CIO Alan Fuller said. “Public-private partnerships are the foundation for effective cyber security and resilience strategies. Timely, trusted information sharing and reporting among stakeholders is essential to the security of the state.”

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