Gov. Brad Little highlights recommendations in new Cybersecurity Task Force Report

Brad Little
Posted at 12:55 PM, May 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 14:55:02-04

IDAHO — Gov. Brad Little joined members of his Cybersecurity Task Force Wednesday to announce 18 new recommendations. The recommendations focus on election integrity, protecting Idaho's infrastructure, improving the state's talent pipeline in the cybersecurity field and improving public awareness.

“Across our state and throughout the nation, there are few more pressing threats to our safety, security, and freedom than cyberattacks. This susceptibility makes the work of the task force so important,” Little said.

Related: Idaho Secretary of State, BSU partner to ensure election security

Little formed the task force in 2021 to address cybersecurity issues in Idaho.

Election integrity and security

To ensure election integrity, the Task Force recommends the governor support post-election audits of the Secretary of State. They reported putting an audit into place will maintain voter confidence during primary and general elections. The Task Force says a post-election audit is required because the election processes in Idaho only slightly vary from county to county.

In addition, the Task Force recommends the state revisit the ability for county clerks to process absentee ballots before election day.

Related: Cybersecurity experts: everyone should be taking precautions

Improving the pipeline of cybersecurity professionals

To increase the amount of working professionals in the cybersecurity field, Little's task force recommends the Idaho State Board of Education recruit additional instructors and invest in necessary infrastructure. Task force members said Idaho colleges and university's ability to teach this type of curriculum is limited by a shortage of knowledgeable faculty who specialize in cybersecurity, and more facilities are required to teach students those skills.

The task force is aiming at the younger generation as well. It's recommended the State Board of Education also explore funding efforts for K-12 computer science and math literacy skills. According to the task force, early exposure to computer science leads to increased interest in the field.

Related: BSU Cyberdome works to fill gaps in cybersecurity industry

Improving public perception and cyber awareness

One of the main areas the Task Force said need improvement is engaging and educating the public on cybersecurity awareness. To start, the Task Force recommends the governor improve the state's cybersecurity website. They recommend a link to the site is placed on all state of Idaho websites where people or businesses are required to enter sensitive information.

In addition, the task force recommends Little create a cyber awareness public service campaign to educate the public on issues like cyber prevention, detection and response.