(The Center Square) – In the wake of a global ransomware attack that included Illinois, officials with the Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology say they remain vigilant.
Last May, Illinois was among the governments and private companies worldwide that were exposed when cyber criminals exploited a vulnerability in a widely used third party transfer system called MOVEit.
During an audit by the Legislative Inspector General, Acting Secretary Sanjay Gupta said fending off cyber attacks is a daily battle.
“The landscape continues to evolve very quickly, so in some ways we already have attacks happening to the state infrastructure everyday, as we speak there are probably some going on right now, so our team is continuously working to see how we can continue to be catching up with the bad actors,” Gupta said.
Gupta said his agency moved quickly to the May cyber attack affecting the state’s network, evicting the attacker within three hours and “verifying that the vulnerability could no longer be exploited in our system.”
In the summer of 2016, the Illinois State Board of Elections was hacked. The names, addresses and other personal information from about 500,000 Illinois voters was stolen through a hacking technique called “SQL injection.” The technique is a common form of cyber-trickery used to illegally gain access to government, financial, business and private computers. After a federal investigation, 12 Russian operatives were indicted for hacking Illinois’ voter database.
Adam Ford, chief information security officer with the Department of Innovation & Technology, said fending off cyber attacks is an ever-evolving process.
“Attackers do adapt and change to new things, novel approaches happen everyday, and so our team is diligently working to ensure monitoring for successful attacks and remediate them as rapidly as possible,” Ford said.