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Idaho cybersecurity task force issues recommendations

Doug Nadvornick/Spokane Public Radio

The panel proposes 18 ways to keep computer-based infrastructure, from state government to households, safe from interference.

A task force appointed by Idaho’s governor has recommended 18 steps to protect the state’s infrastructure from computer-based attacks.

“Across our state and throughout the nation, there are few more pressing threats to our safety, security, and freedom than cyber-attacks. This susceptibility makes the work of the task force so important,” Governor Brad Little said.

The recommendations focus on several areas. They include protecting the integrity and security of the state’s election system. They propose steps for keeping critical infrastructure safe. They suggest creating more interest in cyber careers throughout the educational system to build a more robust pipeline of cyberprofessionals. And, says state Department of Commerce Director Tom Kealey, the state must build more awareness of the need for cybersecurity among the public.

“With nearly every Idaho citizen, business and organization connected to the internet and other networks, cybersecurity becomes everyone’s responsibility," he said.

"Second, all citizens, businesses and organizations must be adaptable and vigilant to ever-changing threats. Most cybersecurity professionals are well aware of these diverse threats and have built multi-layered safeguards for the protection. However, most Idaho citizens, businesses and organizations would serve themselves and others well by elevating cybersecurity to near the top of their priority list," Kealey said.

Task force members met for eight months to develop their report to the governor.

The governor’s office says the legislature has allocated $12 million for a new cyber response and defense fund to help the state respond to computer-generated threats. It says the legislature has also authorized audits of all Idaho elections to help build public trust in the election system.

Doug Nadvornick has spent most of his 30+-year radio career at Spokane Public Radio and filled a variety of positions. He is currently the program director and news director. Through the years, he has also been the local Morning Edition and All Things Considered host (not at the same time). He served as the Inland Northwest correspondent for the Northwest News Network, based in Coeur d’Alene. He created the original program grid for KSFC. He has also served for several years as a board member for Public Media Journalists Association. During his years away from SPR, he worked at The Pacific Northwest Inlander, Washington State University in Spokane and KXLY Radio.