Gov. Whitmer proclaims October as Michigan Cybersecurity Awareness Month

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 8, 2019

CONTACT: DTMB: Caleb Buhs, buhsc@michigan.gov or 517-303-4038
                   MSP:  Lori Dougivito, dougivitol@michigan.gov or 517-284-3223

LANSING, Mich. -- Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed October 2019 as Michigan Cybersecurity Month to encourage state residents, businesses, financial institutions, schools, and others to take the steps necessary to stop cyber criminals in their tracks. According to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center, Michigan residents and businesses have lost more than $42 million to cybercriminal activities so far this year, with an average victim loss of over $5,400. 

“Every day, Michiganders rely on the internet – to communicate, to conduct business and financial transactions, to learn, to provide healthcare … the list is endless,” Whitmer said.  “Our reliance on the internet makes us all susceptible to a sophisticated group of hackers who go online to perpetrate serious and sophisticated crimes. The state of Michigan has a vital responsibility to identify, protect, and respond to cyber threats that may have a significant impact on our individual and collective security and privacy, but we also have a personal responsibility to take the steps necessary to protect ourselves, our families, and our businesses when we go online.”

Gov. Whitmer’s proclamation marks the ninth straight year that October has been recognized as Michigan Cybersecurity Month. To help raise cybercrime awareness, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) and the Michigan State Police will be promoting ways that Michiganders can be safe and secure online throughout the entire month of October.

“When it comes to preventing cybercrime, individuals must be educated and remain vigilant,” said DTMB Director Tricia Foster. “Everyone must be careful and limit the information shared online and through email and social media. Install antivirus software on all your devices and be mindful of the ways cyber criminals can target you through phishing and other identity theft scams.  Always be suspicious of any requests that require immediate action or convey dire consequences.”

During October, Michigan will also participate in the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign, a national public awareness effort aimed at increasing the understanding of cyber threats and empowering the American public to be safer and more secure online. 

“Cybercrimes are a serious threat to our daily routines and connected lifestyles,” said Col. Joe Gasper director of the Michigan State Police. “As these crimes have evolved, so have the tools of law enforcement. We have the most advanced resources to combat cybercrime, including canines trained to locate evidence like mass storage and mobile devices. We also continue to see success with our Michigan Cyber Command Center, which serves as a single point of contact to investigate and prosecute cybercrimes through partnerships and information sharing with government agencies and businesses.”

The Michigan Cyber Command Center was established in 2013 to enhance and protect Michigan’s cybersecurity ecosystem, with specific emphasis on prevention, response, and recovery from cyber incidents. The center is responsible for the coordination of efforts for emergency response during critical cyber incidents in Michigan. The Cyber Command Center can be reached at 877-MI-Cyber.

For Michigan residents interested in learning more about how to protect themselves and their loved ones online, the Michigan Cyber Initiative website at michigan.gov/cybersecurity provides information ranging from how to practice proper cyber “hygiene” to learning about what to do if you are a victim of a cybercrime.

On Oct. 28, the state will host the eighth annual North American International Cyber Summit in Detroit to highlight emerging trends in cybersecurity and share best practices in policy, law, and all manner of public and private interests. The event will also showcase the fourth annual Governor’s High School Cyber Challenge finals, which challenges high school students’ skills in computer science, information technology, and cybersecurity. Additional event information is available online at michigan.gov/cybersummit.

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