Attorney General’s office: Rising reports of cyberattacks in Indiana

IN Focus: Indiana Politics

INDIANAPOLIS – Cyberattacks are on the rise in Indiana, according to the state attorney general’s office.

According to experts, just about anyone could be targeted in a cyberattack. It’s something Hancock Regional Hospital knows all too well.

“At the time, we were pretty average prepared,” said Steve Long, the hospital’s president and CEO. “We had our network penetration tested annually.”

That average protection was not enough. In 2018, a ransomware attack shut down his hospital’s network for three days, he said. Now, Long uses his hospital’s experience as a way to warn others.

“We have a presentation that we have given more than 30 times now all over the country, and in fact, around the world virtually that helps people understand the journey that we were on and how they can be better prepared,” he said.

As the number of cyberattacks continues to grow, officials with the Indiana Attorney General’s office are stepping up their efforts to monitor cyber crime trends and educate businesses about prevention, according to Douglas Swetnam, director of the Data Privacy and Identity Theft Unit for the AG’s office.

“Because of the internet, we are all doing business in a really terrible neighborhood,” Swetnam said. “And you just have to approach it the same way you work with physical security.”

Indiana is on track for a 15% increase in reported cyberattacks compared to last year, Swetnam said. This comes after cyberattack reports spiked 10% in 2020 compared to 2019, he added.

One of Swetnam’s main tips to businesses: keep only the information you need and encrypt what’s left.

“This problem is going to get worse before it gets better,” Swetnam said. “And that businesses, if they haven’t thought about cybersecurity insurance, they should.”

Swetnam also recommends employees use two-factor authentication on their accounts and regularly change their passwords. 

The AG’s office conducts criminal investigations of cyberattacks, but the majority of the time it’s very difficult to track down the perpetrators, Swetnam said.

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