“It’s a hotspot” – Michigan sees need for cybersecurity workers

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) — On a trip to Mid-Michigan, the federal government’s cybersecurity chief discussed the growing number of cyberattacks and explained why the industry is desperate for more workers.

Michigan is a hotspot for cyberattacks because the state has a long history of technological developments and innovations.

“It’s a hotspot because cyber makes a very real contribution to the different industries that are wealthy here: the automotive industry, which is increasingly turning to autonomous and electric vehicles; the agricultural industry, which is increasingly dependent on digital infrastructure in a way that we might not have had 30 to 40 years ago,” said Chris Inglis, National Director of Cybersecurity.

Inglis said that’s why Michigan is at the center of efforts to hire more people to work in cybersecurity.

“We then have to work to get the widest possible population as soon as possible,” Inglis said.

Translation – recruit qualified students, like Sherridell Knox, who want to do the work.

“They want the younger generation to be able to be in this field, to be computer scientists, to be cybersecurity professionals, networking professionals,” Knox said. “The only way they can do that is to listen.”

Inglis said he listens.

“So the students are the ones who can tell us how it can be done. It’s the students who tell us how they came here and what makes them exciting,” Inglis said. “We need to make sure students influence any solutions we provide.”

Inglis said about a third of cyber and IT jobs are empty and Michigan schools can help.

“The education system here is very good at developing skilled people — not necessarily through a formal education of a college nature, but using any means available to provide the necessary skills,” Inglis said.

Below is a list of basic steps you can take to protect yourself against cyberattacks.

Keep ransomware policies up to date Automatic updates recommended
Implement two-factor authentication Use strong passwords
Think before you click Beware of phishing emails, phone calls and text messages
Use secure websites HTTPS – the S indicates a secure website

Read more: Michigan experts to protect you from cyber threats

For business owners who want more information on how to stay safe, visit the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s official website here.

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