TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — After data breaches at three different Tampa Bay hospitals and the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, local school and election officials were among the students in cybersecurity classes Wednesday at the University of South Florida.
“Well, it’s a constant worry that keeps all us up at night,” said Brian Corley. “Nobody is immune from it, certainly attempts at breaches.
Corely is the Pasco County Supervisor of Elections. He said he wants to ensure voter data is secure.
“You can never prepare enough,” Corley said. “With elections — we’ve known this for some time — always having a continuation of operations plan, or contingency plan.”
Corley and his team, as well as multiple other local organizations, like police departments and school districts, attended the daylong training.
“From the category of ‘can’t make this up,’ during the class, a little earlier in the presentation, I received an email,” Corley recalled. “A personal email, mind you, but it was for Netflix, and it was a phishing attempt.”
Cybersecurity training for state and local employees in mandatory under Florida law. Today’s classes were put on by the Florida Center for Cybersecurity, or Cyber Florida, along with partner universities, like USF, the University of West Florida and Florida International University.
“We hope to strengthen the entities, not only through educating and making their leadership more aware of things,” explained Jim Aldrich of Cyber Florida. “But by strengthening the skills of the members that they have on staff who are tasked with protecting their networks.”
“So if they’ve got money, or something that’s monetizable, like information,” said Dr. Alex Crowther. “The bad guys are coming for them.”
Dr. Crowther is an affiliated scholar with the Jack D. Gordon Institute at Florida International University.
“The most important thing that anybody can do is cyber hygiene,” Crowther said. “Don’t click on the link, things like that.”
Crowther said the majority of cyber crimes against critical infrastructure are against hospitals, like Tampa Bay has recently seen.
Cyber Florida plans on hosting more trainings, both in person and online at least for another year or two.