By Lucy Wyndham

UNDATED (NewsDakota.com) – With incidents of hacking and identity theft on the rise, North Dakota aims to train 700 teachers to cyber-educate every school student in the state.

This initiative will not only help internet users to protect themselves from cybercrime on a daily basis, but it is also an investment in the future of cybersecurity. The internet is now indispensable for social and economic interaction, and North Dakota has ambitious plans to become one of the most connected states in the country. However, with greater connectivity comes an increased risk of data breach and cyber attacks, so cybersecurity must be a top priority for government organizations, businesses, and homes.

A Proactive Plan to Protect Data

Although not always successful, there are an estimated 5 million cyber attacks every month across the state. In response to this growing threat, new legislation introduced last year gives North Dakota’s Information Technology Department the authority to oversee cybersecurity across all the state’s public bodies. This has resulted in a more unified approach to cybersecurity throughout the State and a more robust defense against potential threats.

In addition to taking a proactive stance against internet fraud in organizations, government plans for an increase in cyber-education will ensure that North Dakota’s private internet users understand how to protect sensitive data online. By applying simple security measures such as the use of strong passwords, they can protect all their internet-connected devices and the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that they might store or transmit.

Extending Laws on the Misuse of PII

PII refers to any personal data that could be used to identify an individual, including sensitive information, such as their social security number, bank account details or passport number. It is essential that PII is sent and stored securely in order to prevent its unauthorized disclosure or misuse. Last year, North Dakota’s state laws on the unauthorized use of PPI were amended in order to further protect its internet users from breaches of security and internet fraud. The definition of PIII was extended to include payment card details, biometric data and information that could enable access to personal financial records.

Adopting a Zero Trust Security Model

In order to prevent access to PII in the first instance, over two thirds of North Dakota’s data centers have now adopted the Zero Trust security model. Zero Trust is based on the idea that nothing should be automatically trusted either inside or outside an organization. Instead, all attempted connections to a system must pass through inspection and authentication levels before verification is confirmed and access is allowed. As a result, Zero Trust gives greater control, increases the speed and flow of information,  and minimizes the risk of potential internet breaches.

North Dakota is proactive in its defense against cyber attack, unifying security across public institutions and adopting reliable security models.

Through the expansion of laws on PII and the introduction of cyber-education, the state is also providing private internet users with the tools they need to protect themselves online.