Ohio Governor Mike DeWine in 2018

Ohio Creates ‘Cyber Reserve’ To Respond to Ransomware Attacks Across State

The reserve will be comprised of volunteer cybersecurity experts who will work with the state national guard to help local governments.

After a slew of ransomware attacks hit at least three local governments and a major airport in the state, Ohio is rolling out a new program aimed at helping cities combat and respond to cybersecurity threats.

The Ohio Cyber Reserve, established through a law signed by Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday, will be comprised of computer and information security experts who have volunteered to assist local governments recover from the attacks.

Plans for the reserve include the building of five teams of 10 people each spread throughout the state, all of whom will be vetted and trained to help during cybersecurity emergencies hitting governments. Ohio officials compare it to how the Ohio National Guard is placed on active duty during a natural disaster, Nextgov reported.

“This is a persistent threat, and we have to continuously evolve our approach to protecting our critical infrastructure when it comes to cyber,” Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., the Ohio Adjutant General who oversees the state’s National Guard, said during the signing of bill on Friday.

Read more: FBI Warns Businesses and Organizations of Rising “High-Impact” Ransomware Threat

The Ohio National Guard’s cyber team has previously been sent to assist with attacks that affected the city of Akron’s financial accounts. Just this year, the Cleveland airport was hit with an attack, as was the Fayette County government and the city of Riverside Heights.

“The Ohio Cyber Reserve will give us the resources to support our local governments when cyber criminal attacks put computer systems at risk and threaten the safety of Ohioans,” DeWine said in a statement, calling the program an “innovative idea” that could serve as a model for other states.

Other state governments in Texas and Colorado have deployed their national guards to respond to cyber incidents, Nextgov reported. The Ohio law will go into effect 90 days after it was signed, and allocates $100,000 in fiscal year 2020 and $550,000 for fiscal year 2021 for the adjutant general to operate the cyber reserve.

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

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