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Branstad Calls For Cyber Attack Strategy

Joyce Russell/IPR file photo

Governor Branstad has signed an executive order calling on state agencies to prepare for a possible cyber attack on Iowa infrastructure.    The Iowa National Guard, the Iowa Department of Public Safety, and others will draft a cyber-security strategy by July 1st.  State officials say, though, they are not aware of a credible threat at the present time.  

“Although we are not aware of significant cyber threats against our state, like floods and tornadoes and winter storms it's important that we be prepared to respond to a significant cyber attack should one occur,” said Mark Schouten, Director of Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Officials would not say whether there have been credible cyber threats in the past.  

Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds says a year ago the governor assembled a working group to discuss ways for state government and the private sector to prevent, detect, respond, and recover from a cyber attack.

"Every day we hear about new threats and successful and high-profile attacks and the serious consequences of those attacks,” she said.   “It is a rapidly growing threat and we all know that we must be prepared to respond."

In the past few years there have been data breaches at Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa, but the governor's executive order on cyber security does not apply to the three Regents universities.