A proposed legislation in Nebraska aims to employ a computer expert to examine the state's electronic and voting systems.

A proposed legislation in Nebraska aims to employ a computer expert to examine the state’s electronic and voting systems.

A legislator in Nebraska is proposing steps to safeguard the state from cyber threats by suggesting the hiring of a hacker.

On Thursday, State Senator Loren Lippincott proposed a bill to the government committee of the Legislature. The bill aims to allocate $200,000 to the Nebraska State Patrol for the purpose of hiring an “ethical hacker.” This individual would be responsible for attempting to infiltrate the state’s computer network, as well as election equipment and software, to identify any potential weaknesses.

Lippincott stated that the concept was inspired by his nephew, who also worked on a similar project. According to the lawmaker’s team, no other states have recruited independent hackers, however, Missouri has enlisted the services of a company that utilizes “white hat hackers” for this purpose.

Lippincott expressed a desire to be at the forefront.

The proposed legislation would authorize the hiring of a security firm that employs hackers to identify vulnerabilities in the state’s system.

The issue of security is becoming increasingly difficult for government officials at the state and local level who oversee elections. This includes the threat of cyberattacks from foreign governments, criminal groups using ransomware, and false information about elections that has resulted in harassment of officials and weakened the trust of the public.

Lippincott introduced the legislation following a warning from FBI Director Christopher Wray that hackers from the Chinese government are actively targeting vital infrastructure in the United States, such as water treatment facilities, the power grid, and transportation systems.

The hearing for the Nebraska bill coincided with the launch of a program by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which aims to improve election security in states. This comes after a cyberattack on government operations in Georgia, creating difficulties for the state’s March presidential primary.

“Ideally, an ethical hacker would identify potential vulnerabilities and address them before malicious individuals can exploit them,” stated Lippincott. “In other words, they can point out the weak spot in the system.”

Lippincott’s legislation for hiring hackers is being introduced alongside a $11 million cybersecurity bill, which was also presented to the committee on Thursday. The bill aims to provide the state’s chief information officer, local governments, and school districts with increased resources to enhance cybersecurity, such as purchasing security software and hardware, conducting training, and conducting readiness exercises.

At the hearing on Thursday, the bills had a small group of advocates and no critics. The committee will make a decision in the near future on whether to move forward with the proposals. If they are approved, they will need to go through three rounds of discussion in order to be approved by Nebraska’s one-of-a-kind single-chamber Legislature.

Source: wral.com