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Mississippi gov’t agencies fall short of cybersecurity compliance standards

Mississippi gov’t agencies fall short of cybersecurity compliance standards
 

Mississippi government institutions by and large are failing to comply with
standard cybersecurity practices – only 71 of 125 state agencies, boards,
commissions, and universities responded to a survey by the Office of the State
Auditor (OSA) and only 53 of those have an articulated cybersecurity policy in
place.

At least 11 of those surveyed
don’t have adequate plans in place to prevent or recover from a cyberattack,
the audit
found, and more than of the respondents are less than 75 percent compliant with
the state’s cybersecurity laws.

“This survey represents some
excellent but alarming work by the data services division in the auditor’s
office,” Mississippi State Auditor Shad White said in a statement.
“October is cyber security awareness month, and we should start this month by
acknowledging the very real weaknesses in our state government system.”

Noting that he had personally “seen
screenshots of other states’ private data on the dark web,” White warned
against “Mississippians’ personal information leaking out in the same way” and
contended “the time to act to prevent hacking is now.”

The report urged heads of
agencies to press their IT pros to ensure compliance and plan out how to
prevent breaches.

“Sadly, most of the governmental agencies in the U.S. and Europe are similarly underprotected,” said Ilia Kolochenko, founder and CEO of ImmuniWeb. “The government usually lacks financial resources and is unable to effectively compete on the market for cybersecurity talents.”

Agencies are often thwarted by complicated and slow purchasing and procurement processes. “Hierarchy is likewise complicated, obscuring accountability and responsibility for cybersecurity,” he said. “Cybercriminals widely regard government as a low-hanging fruit, running targeted attacks and ransomware campaigns against it.”

Most attacks involving data theft “are sophisticated enough to never get detected and reported, differently from quite ‘noisy’ ransomware incidents,” Kolochenko said.

The post Mississippi gov’t agencies fall short of cybersecurity compliance standards appeared first on SC Media.

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