More than ever, cyberthieves are targeting Ohio’s local governments and tax dollars with great sophistication. The Auditor of State's Office wants to help public employees fortify their governments to shield themselves from digital threats and fend off cyberattacks.

Fighting cybercrime

Our office has created a 90-minute, on-demand webinar that follows our popular training sessions offered last year. In it, Nicole Beckwith — an investigator and digital forensic analyst for the Auditor of State's office — presents information on preventing and dealing with a cyberattack, should it happen. To watch the video, click the image above.

In June 2016, Auditor Yost urged fiscal personnel at local governments across Ohio to be on high alert for cybercrimes targeting tax dollars. The warning was prompted by an increase in reported attacks at several governments, including school districts, counties and townships.

Many of the attacks were carried out using a practice known as 'phishing’ – sending email containing either a link or an attachment that, when opened, infects computers or entices the recipient to share account information and passwords. Some of the attachments launch viruses that essentially take data hostage until a ransom is paid.

“These hackers are becoming more and more sophisticated and are looking for data-rich targets,” Auditor Yost said. “Governments by the very nature of what they do have a great deal of information that these cybercriminals are after. We need to do all we can to help local leaders fortify their governments to protect data and the interests of the citizens they serve.”

With that in mind, in early 2017 the Auditor's office launched training sessions in eight communities throughout Ohio, geared toward helping government officials prevent and deal with cyber attacks. The response from attendees of these trainings was overwhelmingly positive and there were requests from attendees to offer the training as an on-demand video allowing more people to be trained. Beginning in 2018, the Auditor’s office is offering a free, cybersecurity training webinar.

"We in the Auditor’s office have the ability to help local leaders, and Ohioans, prevent personal information from getting into the hands of evildoers, and that’s why we’re doing this training.”

The Auditor's office will continue to offer tips and resources regarding cybersecurity on this page.