Indiana to receive $20 million from infrastructure package for cybersecurity

IN Focus: Indiana Politics

INDIANAPOLIS – The bipartisan infrastructure bill that’s now waiting for President Biden’s signature will send $20 million to Indiana to prevent cyberattacks, according to the White House.

State officials have said cyberattacks are on the rise in Indiana.

Dr. David Dunkle, president and CEO of Johnson Memorial Health, is all too familiar with the growing problem after his health care system was hit with a cyberattack about six weeks ago.

“We’re all organizations that have invested heavily in cybersecurity,” Dr. Dunkle said. “That’s what’s scary.”

Dr. Dunkle said operations are back to normal now, but he worries about others who could be vulnerable.

“You can never let your guard down, and those exercises you do of what it will take to recover, you can’t go through that enough,” he said.

Dr. Dunkle said he’s pleased to see the federal government investing in cybersecurity.

“I think every bit helps … and I think we need to stay cutting edge, and hopefully these federal dollars will help us to do that,” Dr. Dunkle said.

Some of the funding in the infrastructure package will go to state and local governments to help them prevent cyberattacks, according to the White House. Funding has also been set aside to help government agencies and private businesses respond to cyberattacks.

“It’s sorely needed,” said Scott Shackelford, chair of the Indiana University Cybersecurity Risk Management program. “We’ve seen a huge array of cyber threats really take off.”

Shackelford said his team at IU surveyed thousands of organizations across the state last year and found there’s still a lot of confusion on the best ways to prepare. 

He said he hopes this new funding also comes with guidance on how agencies and companies should be proactive.

“Making sure that you have an incident response plan, that you have a game plan for how you respond to a cyberattack,” Shackelford said. “That you do have either an insurance policy or that you’re able to self-insure.”

Earlier this year, state lawmakers also took action by passing a law that tracks attempted and successful cyberattacks on government entities to prevent future ones.

We reached out to the Indiana Office of Technology to find out how the state government may be impacted by the additional funding. A spokesperson declined our request for an interview, saying officials are still working to fully understand the legislation.

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