The Maryland Cybersecurity Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on State and Local Cybersecurity investigated the state’s technological shortcomings and analysed methods used by other states to improve security. The committee is co-headed by Sen. Katie Fry Hester and Del. Patrick G. Young Jr. Maryland has been the target of several cyberattacks in recent times, involving assaults on Baltimore City and County public schools, and lately, the Maryland Department of Health. As estimated, the Department of Health’s networks will require $50 million in upgrades.
Senate Bill 754 and House Bill 1202, included in the package, would mandate the Maryland Department of Emergency Management to assist local governments in preparing for the likelihood of a cyberattack. It would also establish the Local Cybersecurity Support Fund, which would assist smaller municipalities in upgrading their system security.
Senate Bill 811 and House Bill 1205 would establish a financing framework to upgrade all of the state’s old information technology infrastructure. The bill initially asked for $1.5 billion in bond funds from the Maryland Stadium Authority to improve the infrastructure, but it is being changed to find another funding source.
Senate Bill 812 and House Bill 1346 would bring all state IT infrastructure under the Department of Information Technology supervision. It would also require all state and some municipal agencies to do yearly security checks and establish new offices to help local governments strengthen their cybersecurity infrastructure.
Several state agencies have objected to this policy. However, those who have objected have severe deficiencies in their audit reports and protected their personally identifiable information. The Maryland Department of Transportation requested exclusion, but it was later revealed that over 10 million pieces of personally identifying information were not securely safeguarded.
Young stated, however, that while we embrace technology, we must also realise the dangers that come with it and ensure that we are upgrading our cybersecurity policy to safeguard our infrastructure, essential services, and Maryland citizens’ privacy and data.
-Adv. Sabrina Bath
(Content Writer, WCSF)