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As Connecticut looks to protect youth online, AG Tong warns businesses of cyber attacks

Data Security
Werner Moser

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong told the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce this week to protect themselves from cyber attacks.

Tong said since the war in Ukraine started, cyber attacks and cyberwarfare across the globe have accelerated, and that U.S. Homeland Security, FBI, Department of Justice and state attorneys general are on a heightened state of alert. He said the risk is also real for Connecticut businesses — no matter their size.

“Who are they going to go after? The people least able to defend themselves,” Tong said. “Small businesses, businesses on the other side of the globe and governments. Why do they target governments, especially local governments? Because we have the one thing that hackers want… information.”

Bradley International Airport and Plainfield, Connecticut, were both hacked last month. Plainfield’s systems will be down for months and will cost the small town about $300,000 to safeguard.

Governor Ned Lamont is also expected to sign data security legislation that was approved in the state Senate this week. It protects young people from online threats, and regulates how Connecticut businesses keep customer data secure.

“You’ve got a ton of information that is being managed and put through all of these systems and they’re at risk,” Tong said. “Without effective regulation and without accountability, how can we ensure that our personal info as consumers is as strongly protected as it needs to be?”

The legislation would let consumers see what of their personal data is being tracked by internet carriers, and it would allow them to correct or delete that information. It would also let consumers remove advertisements that often follow them around the internet.

The bill builds on programs the state already has in place. In 2011, then-State Attorney General George Jepsen created a privacy task force to educate residents about data protection. He created a privacy section, which was the first in any state attorney general's office in the country.

Natalie is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.