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Auditor Yost to Hold Cyber Fraud Prevention Training in Eight Ohio Communities
Columbus – With cyberattacks on governments increasing, Auditor Dave Yost today announced a series of training seminars to help local government leaders in Ohio combat cyberattacks. Already, more than 560 local officials have registered for the free training.
“These hackers are becoming more and more sophisticated and are looking for data-rich targets,” Auditor Yost said. “Governments by the very nature of what they do have a great deal of information that these cybercriminals are after. We need to do all we can to help local leaders fortify their governments to protect data and the interests of the citizens they serve.”
Auditor Yost last summer encouraged local government leaders to create contingencies for cyberattacks when he recognized the increase was occurring. His call for action came after a number of local governments were defrauded of money, had to pay a ransom to regain control of their data or an attempted attack was thwarted.
Most recently, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District announced on March 1 that it had been hacked by a phishing scheme. On Jan. 31, Licking County was hacked – shutting down its system for a week. Other governments in Ohio have either lost data, lost money or paid money to cybercriminals to get their data back. One school district in Central Ohio was duped into sending nearly $40,000 to a fake account – not because school officials were sloppy, but because the hackers are increasingly sophisticated. And an Eastern Ohio court had to pay a ransom in bitcoin to have its data released from the clutches of cybercriminals.
“This problem isn’t going away. It’s getting worse,” Yost said. “We know many local communities are strapped for resources, and some haven’t taken steps to protect their digital assets. We in the Auditor’s office have the ability to help local leaders prevent personal information from getting into the hands of evildoers, and that’s why we’re doing this training.”
The training sessions will be held in eight communities across Ohio so that it is accessible and inexpensive for local officials. Auditor Yost partnered with local sheriffs to host the events. The training will help local officials understand how and why governments are attacked, how to minimize their risk, how to identify digital threats, what to do if your government is attacked, and answer other questions such as how bitcoin works.
Leading the training is Nicole Beckwith, an investigator and digital forensic analyst for the Auditor of State. Beckwith is a recognized expert on cybersecurity, policy, cyberterrorism and is trained in computer forensics, network investigations and network intrusion response.
The training schedule is as follows:
Elyria – Wednesday, March 22, 9-11 a.m.
Lorain County Community College
Sheriff Phil R. Stammitti
Hamilton – Wednesday, March 29, 9-11 a.m.
Butler Tech Public Safety Education Complex
Sheriff Richard K. Jones
Findlay – Wednesday, April 5, 9-11 a.m.
University of Findlay
Sheriff Michael E. Heldman
Ashland – Wednesday, April 5, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Ashland County Public Library
Sheriff E. Wayne Risner
Marietta – Wednesday, May 3, 9-11 a.m.
Washington State Community College
Sheriff Larry R. Mincks Sr.
Steubenville – Wednesday, May 3, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Jefferson County ESC George-Pugliese Training Annex
Sheriff Fred J. Abdalla
Dayton – Wednesday, May 10, 9-11 a.m.
Montgomery County Educational Service Center
Sheriff Phil Plummer
Delaware – Wednesday, May 10, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Frank B. Willis Government Building
Sheriff Russell L. Martin
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.