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Iowa Boosts Cybersecurity Education in Defensive Measure

State leaders are shoring up cyberdefenses by expanding education efforts.

Iowa state leaders are pushing for a heightened focus on cybersecurity education to prepare against future online attacks. 

South Carolina and Utah have sustained massive cybersecurity breaches in recent years. Iowa's recent efforts are an attempt to save it from similar events. Mark Schouten, director of Iowa’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, likened cyberattacks to natural disasters.

“Although we are currently aware of no credible cyber threats of this scope against our state, like floods, tornadoes and winter storms, it’s important that we be prepared to respond to a significant cyberattack should one occur,” Schouten told The Gazette, an Iowa newspaper.

In December, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad issued an executive order to update the state's cyberdefenses. The plan includes implementing new cybersecurity-awareness campaigns for state government employees and increasing STEM education efforts at K–12 schools and higher education institutions.

The state will also “collaborate with the private sector and educational institutions to implement cybersecurity best practices."

Indiana is also shoring up its online defenses by establishing a public–private partnership. In October, the state partnered with Purdue University and Intel Security to organize responses to cyberthreats, creating the Security Operations Center. The center relies on state employees and Purdue students to keep tabs on security incidents in the state’s IT systems.

Jan 06 2016