Governor Ron DeSantis approved more than $ 37 million in the state budget Wednesday to strengthen Florida’s defenses against cybersecurity threats.
According to the governor’s office, the money will be used to improve cybersecurity in various state agencies and protect Floridians from “cyber threats that could compromise critical state resources and sensitive information.”
The new funding comes when public and private entities work to prevent infamous cybersecurity violations such as those that surprised Twitter in 2020 and the closure of a main gas pipeline in May, creating a panic that caused fuel shortages in North Florida and elsewhere.
It should be noted that Florida has had a good deal of cybersecurity setbacks in recent years.
In October 2020, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) fell victim to “malicious activity”Orchestrated with the data and systems of the department.
The attack, which did not compromise anyone’s personal data, created temporary interruptions and left the department operating at a limited capacity for several weeks.
In November 2020, a hacker sent text messages through a bespoke communications application for the Emergency Management Division reserved for emergencies only.
The first message, originally reported by Tampa Bay Times, urged recipients to “speak before another 17,000 people die,” referring to the state’s death toll at COVID-19 at the time.
“You know this is wrong,” the message added. “It simply came to our notice then. Be a hero. Talk before it’s too late. “
In all, DOH estimates that 1,750 messages were sent before software vendors with ReadyOp, who designed the system, could cancel the distribution.
Later, the Florida Police Department notified an order at Rebekah Jones in relation to the hack.
Jones is a former Department of Health data commissioner who reached the national headlines after being fired from the department for insubordination. He has denied any involvement with the hack.
As Florida rolls up its sleeves to bolster its cyberspace, DeSantis in May encouraged the federal government to do the same amid fuel shortages.
“We really need the federal government to step up,” DeSantis told Press conference in Tarpon Springs. “Initially, they acted as if it were a private matter. I mean no, it’s a critical infrastructure for our country that was attacked, that can disrupt people’s daily lives and our economy. “
The new budget will take effect on July 1.