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Connecticut’s attorney general warns businesses to defend against cyberattacks

Attorney General William Tong speaking at the Cybersecurity Breakfast.jpg
Brian Scott-Smith
WSHU Public Radio
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong speaks about cybersecurity at a business event.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong is warning businesses, schools, hospitals and local governments to be on-guard against cyberattacks.

Tong said Connecticut has seen cyberattack cases increase from just over 100 attacks a decade ago to over 1,600 attacks last year. He said the war in Ukraine has increased cyberattacks from Russia in the U.S. and abroad.

“As our country and the countries of NATO become more engaged in protecting the people of Ukraine and trying to end this war. You can expect there will be more activity online and more attacks on our cyber infrastructure,” Tong said. “That’s why we’re meeting with the FBI and Homeland in Texas because this is affecting all of us here, not just across the country and across the globe but here in Connecticut.”

Tong briefed business and local elected officials in eastern Connecticut during a Chamber of Commerce business breakfast this week. He said everyone is susceptible, but cyberterrorists are targeting educational institutions, local government agencies and health care systems.

A law that took effect last October appears to be helping Connecticut businesses protect themselves against cybersecurity attacks. Under the law, any company that owns, licenses or maintains computerized data that includes personal information is required to disclose a security breach to the state attorney general’s office and anyone whose data may be affected within 60 days.

Michele Lucan, who leads privacy and data security in the attorney general’s office, said every business should have an emergency plan in place before they suffer a cyberattack.

“Make sure you have a data breach response plan. But they can’t only be on paper. If they’re only on paper, they won’t be useful to you when you need it. So, get those plans in place, but also test them,” Lucan said. “Run fire drills, simulate data breaches, you know, run those exercises, so you are ready when it happens to you.”

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.