Maryland governor signs order to boost cybersecurity after Baltimore ransomware attack

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Tuesday signed an executive order aimed at strengthening the state’s cybersecurity capabilities, a month after a debilitating ransomware attack on Baltimore city networks disabled several services.

The executive order formally establishes the “Maryland Cyber Defense Initiative” and creates the position of state chief information security officer (SCISO), who will be charged with giving cybersecurity recommendations to the governor.

The order also establishes the Office of Security Management within Maryland’s Department of Information Technology that will coordinate and implement “the overall cybersecurity strategy and policy” for the executive branch of the state government.{mosads}

The Maryland Cybersecurity Coordinating Council is also established by the order, and will provide strategies to implement cybersecurity initiatives and recommendations to the SCISO. It will be made up of state officials including the secretaries of Health, General Services, Transportation, and the director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security, among others.

In explaining the steps being taken, language in the order stated that “a unified, statewide cybersecurity program is necessary to ensure that State Government agencies are managing systems and data in a consistent, secure manner.”

The executive order was signed a month after the city of Baltimore had multiple systems disrupted due to a cyber attack, with some city and county agencies still unable to perform certain services on Tuesday.

According to The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore County was also impacted by the breach, with county officials unable to send sewer charges for 14,000 customers this week. The city of Baltimore has also been unable to issue water bills since the ransomware attack hit on May 7.


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