Governor and OMES on cybersecurity incident
Unification essential in preventing cybersecurity attacks
OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma Office of Management and
Enterprise Services are offering the following information regarding a cyberattack
against a state agency that was referenced last week during a House Government
Modernization Committee meeting.
The agency referenced did not pay a ransom as a result of
the cyber incident, an investigation by Oklahoma CyberCommand, an arm of OMES
Information Services, confirmed today.
The incident in question was a ransomware attack on an
agency that had not had its information technology
unified under HB 1304 passed in 2011. The fact that the incident even brought
about the consideration of paying a ransom shows the importance of IT
“This incident further illustrates how essential IT
unification has been in protecting our state’s technological infrastructure,” Fallin
said. “The importance of state agencies unifying their IT with
OMES to have the best cybersecurity available cannot be understated. “
Unification allows agencies to have the updated resources of
Oklahoma CyberCommand that quickly detect and prevent ransomware attacks, said
Oklahoma CyberCommand Director Mark Gower.
“CyberCommand has created a specific set of technical and
response capabilities for dealing with an increase in ransomware attacks that can
encrypt state computers and make them inaccessible until ransom has been paid,”
Gower said. “Not a single unified state agency has been forced to pay ransom. Nonunified
agencies don’t have access to the same levels of services through CyberCommand
and can therefore be more vulnerable.”
In 2016, CyberCommand successfully responded to about 32,000
cases of unique malware, about 750 instances of malicious activity, nearly 400
occasions of unauthorized access and two denial-of-service attacks. The state's
technology unification efforts and the OMES Security
Operations Center can identify and respond quickly 24/7 to cyberattacks. Nonunified
agencies are responsible for their own cybersecurity and typically don’t have
the same updated resources available through Oklahoma CyberCommand.
“This just validates
that unification efforts are proving to be successful on this front in addition
to saving Oklahomans millions of dollars,” said Secretary of Finance,
Administration and Information Technology Preston L. Doerflinger, who is the
director of OMES.
“Any calls to unwind
the mandated unification of state agencies or exempt certain state agencies
from the unification process are misguided and motivated by something other
than the best interests of the State of Oklahoma,” Doerflinger said. “Further,
as this incident shows, those misguided efforts could expose the private
information of Oklahomans to greater chances of falling into the wrong hands.”
To date, 58 of 78 legislatively mandated agencies have
unified their information
technology with OMES. Another 31 agencies have voluntarily
unified their IT with OMES. The remaining 20 legislatively mandated agencies are expected to be unified with OMES by the end of the fiscal year. Unifying IT
services has not only resulted in a combined reduced spending and projected
savings of about $129 million, but also provides better access to security
resources, said Oklahoma Chief Information Officer Bo Reese.
“The state continues to have cyber threats, and the services
unified agencies have afford greater protections than agencies that have not
yet consolidated,” Reese said.
At this time, no further details of the referenced incident
are available for release as it could compromise the cybersecurity of the
agency in question and possibly other agencies.
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About the Office of Management and Enterprise Services
The Office of Management and Enterprise Services
provides financial, property, purchasing, human resources and
information technology services to all state agencies, and assists the
Governor’s Office on budgetary policy matters. Our mission: Supporting our partners through unified business services. For more information, visit OMES.OK.gov.