North Dakota agencies come together to coordinate whole-of-government response to potential cyber incidents


BISMARCK, North Dakota –RRepresentatives from multiple state agencies, including the governor’s office, North Dakota Information Technology (NDIT), and the Department of Emergency Services, met today to review the framework for responding to a potential major cybersecurity incident.

While the war in Ukraine has raised concerns of a possible major cyberattack on the United States, NDIT defended against 4.5 billion attacks on the state government last year, more than double the number of attacks two years earlier.

With the threat of cyberattacks ever present, the State Emergency Operations Center and key state and private entities must plan and practice to stay prepared. The state has participated in a series of cyber readiness exercises since 2016.

Today’s meeting was an organizational gathering of the State Unified Command to brief team members on the response framework, along with other agencies involved, including Ministries of Transportation, the quality of Environment, Commerce, Financial Institutions, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, North Dakota Forest Service, Highway Patrol, and North Dakota National Guard. Agency officials discussed considerations for the state government if North Dakota were to experience a significant disruption to the energy sector, internet communications or other critical infrastructure.

The governor and chiefs of staff meet regularly to review policy and set strategic goals for cybersecurity preparedness, defense, and response.

“It is imperative that we take a proactive, whole-of-government approach to addressing cybersecurity threats to the protection of our citizens and the critical services and sensitive data they entrust to their state, local and tribal governments,” said the Governor Doug Burgum. “Today’s meeting sets the stage for a statewide response while emphasizing that prevention remains our first and best line of defense.”

The state will conduct a cyber exercise in June to validate planning factors and increase the effectiveness of the whole-of-government team.


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