IN THE WAKE OF IRAN’S missile strike on Iraqi bases housing American military forces, governors across the U.S. have announced heightened cybersecurity threats for their state agencies and local elections.[ 

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security released an advisory Monday detailing the types of cyberthreats officials should be prepared for, including election threats and cyberattacks against finance, energy and telecommunications organizations.

Meanwhile, a number of governors have released their own messages to the public and to local officials warning of an increased chance of cyberattacks.Best States for Internet AccessView All 12 Slides

North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper issued a release Tuesday urging the public, especially businesses and government agencies, to look out for cyberthreats.

“The best way we can keep our state’s cyber systems safe and help prevent crippling attacks is to pay attention,” Cooper said. “When in doubt, do not click. Cyber criminals have many reasons for trying to beat our systems, and I encourage everyone to do their part and be sure they understand online security practices.”

His message included information to educate the public on how to identify cyberthreats and how to protect their personal information.[ 

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott also made a public announcement Tuesday, declaring that the state’s Department of Information Resources experienced an increase in attempted cyberattacks this week. The agency saw Iranian cyberattacks at a rate of 10,000 attacks per minute, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“We have no way of knowing whether anything is government-based or not, or government-sanctioned,” said Amanda Crawford, the department’s executive director. “What we’re doing is scanning on our state networks, and we can see where attacks are coming from.”

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner praised Washington officials’ reaction to the potential of increased cyberthreats. According to Route Fifty, election officials were critical of the government’s reaction to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and the lack of information that was shared with the public.

“The fact that the federal government was on top of the situation, was identifying potential threat vectors (that Iranian hackers may already be inside systems and to be watching for something to “be activated”) and was talking openly to all facets of our society, shows remarkable progress toward threat deterrence and detection,” said the advisory issued by Warner’s office.

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