November 08, 2019
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Cyber attacks loom as threat to state’s computer systems

Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Robert F. Bukaty | AP
The State House is surrounded by fall foliage Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, in Augusta, Maine.

This week’s viral computer attack on several state government computer servers is by no means an isolated incident. Cyber security officials say there are hundreds of thousands of attempts to hack into state computer systems every day, and the attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated.

“What we have is, although the numbers may be large, the ones we are really predominantly worried about have a tremendous amount of sophistication behind them,” Maine Chief Information Officer Fred Brittain said.

[Voter database unaffected after computers in Maine election office hit by cyber attack]

Maine is subject to relentless attempts to access its computers, Brittain said. The hackers are often connected to sophisticated international efforts that are spending millions of dollars, he said.

“Many folks are still of the mind that when they think of hackers they think of a teenager in their parents’ basement, you know, eating Cheetos and trying to steal a social security number,” Brittain said. “And that really is not the case anymore; it is nation-states.”

Maine is using constantly updated security programs, but says no computer system is completely protected, he said.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.



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