Explore MN Facebook Hack Highlights Problems with Cybersecurity

December 06, 2017 07:46 PM

Two days after a hack hit the Explore Minnesota Facebook page, Minnesota lawmakers are learning more about preventing cyberattacks. 

And experts say these security threats are more common than you think.


Minnesota IT Services said the Explore Minnesota Facebook hack is one of three million cyberattacks the state fends off every day.

RELATED: Explore Minnesota Back in Control After Facebook Page Hacked

On Monday, hackers posted silly articles to the Facebook page.

It appeared amusing, but it was actually a sophisticated phishing attack designed to get users to click on the article. That's how hackers generate advertising revenue and steal personal information.

According to Explore Minnesota, it took more than eight hours working with Facebook and MNIT to regain control of the page.

Aaron Call, MNIT's Chief Information Security Officer, told the Legislative Commission on Data Practices Wednesday that online criminals are well organized.

"These are very formal organizations," he said. "They have recruiting boards, they do interviews, they have quality control. This is the formality our adversaries have hit, and it's a very professional workforce."

MNIT called the legislative hearing a big-picture conversation about the need to invest in cybersecurity. Last year, the Legislature did not approve Gov. Mark Dayton's request for $27 million to improve cybersecurity.

But MNIT said there will be a new request coming in the next session, though it's too early to attach a dollar amount. 


Kevin Doran

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